Is it legal to not replace a tenants stove if she refused to allow us to remove her old stove twice so we could install the new one?

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Is it legal to not replace a tenants stove if she refused to allow us to remove her old stove twice so we could install the new one?

I am an apartment manager, and I have a tenant who needs a new stove. Her burners work fine but the oven part is not repairable. Her request was approved, the stove was ordered, and she was informed of everything going on ahead of time. I informed her that somebody would be coming over to remove her old stove the day before the new one would be delivered and installed and I even gave her dates and times. I also told her that any of her furniture that was in the way of moving the stove would need to be moved and it was her responsibility (I was told this by my boss). We made 2 attempts to remove this lady’s stove both of which she rejected. The first time she said that she wasn’t moving her stuff; the second attempt she said she wasn’t done cooking (we offered to let her finish her cooking first), to which she yelled at us and told us to just come get the stove. When informed of all of this, my boss told me to send her a copy of the bill from the people who we’ve sent over to remove her stove and she was going to send it to the tenant. She also told me that since we attempted twice to remove the stove with no cooperation, she wanted me to store the new stove. She told me to let the tenant know that she could just make do with her old one. I didn’t feel right about this, so I gave her the stove anyway. Now I am wondering if I did the right thing. Is it legal to not replace her stove if she refused to cooperate twice?

Asked on December 27, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Arkansas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I think that in the end you did the right thing.  Landlord Tenant issues are probably the most highly disputed matters in the courts, next to family court issues.  Yes, she was uncooperative but in the end she was entitled to the stove.  If she had brought you and your boss to court your defense would have been the attempts made to replace the stove but the court would never have penalized her and told you that you did not have to replace it.  If the fixture was not working properly she could have asked for an abatement of the rent and might even have gotten it.  I am sure that your boss is mad at the amount that is owed in the attempts to replace the stove but at least one of those attempts would have been money she had to swallow anyway. 


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