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Who is responsible for appliance repairs, landlord or tenant?

I'm moving to an apartment that has an used fridge (long time used). The contract establish that "tenant is responsible for the maintenance & repairs of the fridge". Is that right? Should I sign the contract?  Who is responsible for appliance repairs under MA law?

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The landlord is not required to include a refrigerator in the unit (unlike a stove, which is required, unless the written rental agreement says otherwise.  See below).  However, if she installs an optional appliance, she is required to keep it in working order, regardless of what the lease or tenancy at will might say.  See 105 CMR (Massachusetts Regulations) 410:351: 


410.351: Owner's Installation and Maintenance Responsibilities. The owner shall install or cause to be installed, in accordance with accepted plumbing, gasfitting and electrical wiring standards, and shall maintain free from leaks, obstructions or other defects, the following:


(A) all facilities and equipment which the owner is or may be required to provide including, but not limited to, all sinks, washbasins, bathtubs, showers, toilets, waterheating facilities, gas pipes, heating equipment, water pipes, owner installed stoves and ovens, catch basins, drains, vents and other similar supplied fixtures; the connections to water, sewer and gas lines; the subsurface sewage disposal system, if any; all electrical fixtures, outlets and wiring, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms, and all heating and ventilating equipment and appurtenances thereto; and

(B) all owner-installed optional equipment, including but not limited to, refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washing machines and dryers, garbage grinders, and submetering devices designed to measure the usage of electricity, gas or water.


410.100: Kitchen Facilities

(A) Every dwelling unit, and every rooming house where common cooking facilities are provided, shall contain suitable space to store, prepare and serve foods in a sanitary manner. The owner shall provide within this space:

(1) A kitchen sink of sufficient size and capacity for washing dishes and kitchen utensils; and

(2) a stove and oven in good repair (see 105 CMR 410.351) except and to the extent the occupant is required to do so under a written letting agreement; and

(3) space and proper facilities for the installation of a refrigerator.



Hope that helps.  For more information or to post a question, visit our MA Tenant Law Discussion Forum.


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