What appliances are landlords required to provide for their rental units?
Landlords are expected by law to provide their tenants with certain housing and health standards to make a property habitable and to maintain those standards when renting out the property. This information isn’t outlined in the RTA but is specified in the Alberta Minimum Housing and Health Standards Act.
When it comes to appliances, the requirements can sometimes be confusing. The act defines the following necessities:
- Plumbing and drainage system
- Washroom facilities
- Heating facilities
- Water supply
- Electrical Service
- Smoke Alarms
- Food preparation facilities include a sink, counter, cupboards, stove, refrigerator, and hot/cold running water.
Complete repairs within a reasonable amount of time
Landlords must ensure that the necessities are in good working order and that they respond to calls for repairs in a “timely” fashion. The term “timely” is up to the discretion of the landlord. For example, there are two toilets in a condominium occupied by one tenant, and one of the toilets isn’t functioning properly. The landlord calls the plumber, but the plumber can’t repair it for a week. Waiting a week won’t cause undue hardship for the tenant because they have another functional toilet. However, if the tenant calls the landlord because of a water vein burst that’s flooding the condo, the landlord is required to fix the issue immediately. A flood is an emergency, and waiting a week to repair it is not considered a “reasonable” amount of time.
If the tenant caused damage to the appliance needing repairs, the landlord must provide an appliance repair person, but it’s the tenant’s responsibility to pay for the repairs.
Can Tenants use their own appliances?
Most tenants are happy to use the appliances the landlord provided, although there are gourmet cooks who want to use their own stoves and even those who want to use their own washers/dryers.
Usually, if landlords have a place to store their appliances that don’t involve additional storage costs and moving the appliances doesn’t cause any damage to the property, most landlords are willing to allow tenants to use their own machines.
Are additional appliances required?
Outside of the appliances listed in the Minimum Housing and Health Standards Act, are landlords expected to provide microwaves, dishwashers, washers/dryers? According to the Minimum Housing and Health Standards – no. Any other appliances noted in the lease and included in the rent price, such as dishwashers, and washing machines, etc., fall under the landlord’s jurisdiction for regular maintenance and repairs.
Should landlords consider supplying additional appliances?
Most landlords are keenly aware of what their competition offers and are willing to supply additional appliances such as dishwashers, microwaves, and washers/dryers to stay competitive or to reduce the rent to attract tenants. Others offer additional appliances as incentives for paying rent on time every month for a year, passing yearly maintenance inspection reports with flying colours, or renewing a lease for an additional year.
Regardless of whether the tenants want to use the landlord’s appliances or their own, it’s good practice to take pictures of the your stove, fridge, washer/dryer, dishwasher, etc., with serial numbers, note the condition, and store the information with the move-in/move-out inspection reports.
There have been incidents where tenants swapped the landlord’s new fridge/stove with used/damaged appliances. If the landlord has proof of what was included in rental unit during the move-in inspection, the tenant can be held accountable.
Keep track of warranty plans
New appliances come with warranties which come in handy if there are malfunctions. Storing warranties in a file or cloud storage can save significant dollars in the future. Unfortunately, appliances are not built to last longer than seven years. Keeping track of the purchase date will help you budget for operational/replacement costs in the future.
Will you provide appliances or not? You only need to provide the appliances specified in the Minimum Housing and Health Standards Act, but let’s face it, appliances are an attractive amenity that can be a deal breaker for tenants.
As a landlord, you need to stay competitive to attract quality tenants while weighing out the decision of whether or not to supplying appliances provides a ROI.
The following is an excerpt from Section IV from the The Alberta Minimum Housing and Health Standards.
What is your opinion on an must have appliances in your rental units? I’d love to hear about it.
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