Posted by Mark Smith on August 25, 1999 at 23:07:59:
In Reply to: Re: broken refrigerator posted by DK on August 25, 1999 at 19:19:37:
If the landlord does not do the repairs within a week, rather than repair and deduct, or replace and deduct, I would suggest having a service call to have someone look at the refrigerator. If repair costs are reasonable, then have the repairs done. If the serviceman says, in writing, that repair costs would be excessive, I would suggest buying a used refrigerator of approximately the same size and with the same features.
If the landlord refuses to pay for the service call and the repairs or replacement, I would sue the landlord in small claims court, which would probably more friendly and more convenient (in the evening) than housing court. Repair/replace and deduct could lead you to housing court (probably in the daytime), and if the landlord is successful, you could be liable for the landlord's attorneys' fees.
Also, your lease may prohibit you from replacing the refrigerator and other appliances. If you replace the broken refrigerator with a new refrigerator, the landlord might try to enforce the lease, because he would prefer to furnish the replacement refrigerator and increase the rent by 1/40 of a high-price refrigerator. That becomes a part of the rent, and would be subject to renewal and vacancy increases in the future. The landlord couldn't legitimately raise that argument for a used refrigerator replacing a broken, non-repairable refrigerator.
: You are correct. You are required to wait a "reasonable" time after the landlord receives notice. You should probably send a follow-up letter that indicates if the landlord does not repair the defective refrigerator within one week, you will repair or replace it yourself and deduct the amount from the rent.
: "Repair and deduct" is never a sure thing. Ultimately, it's up to the housing court judge to decide if your notice was reasonable and that your costs to correct the problem were reasonable.
: I would never agree to a rent increase unless
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