What are a tenant’s rights to any appliances that they purchased?

I replaced a stove and refrigerator in my rental property and once I moved I took the appliances I purchased. The appliances that were in the home did not work. Can my landlord have a warrant issued saying that I stole appliances that I purchased?

Asked on July 19, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There are two different issues:

1) Legally, if you bought the appliances, they would normally be yours, unless:

a) There was something in the lease to the contrary--lease terms will be enforced

b) You were buying them to replace appliances of the landlord's which you broke

c) Similar to the above, even if you did not break the landlord's appliances, if you disposed of them when you bought your new ones--e.g. you threw them out, or placed them somewhere where they were taken or damaged--you would owe the landlord replacement appliances (or at least the value of the ones you disposed of)

2) The second issue though is not legal but factual: what can you prove and what can the landlord prove? For example, referring to c) above--suppose that you took out the old appliances and disposed of them; then if you take the appliances you  bought when you leave, the landlord will have some justification for thinking you stole appliances--the appliances will be missing. He could then go to the police.


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