What to do if a tenant demands that a landlord fulfill a term not in the written lease?

UPDATED: May 28, 2011

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What to do if a tenant demands that a landlord fulfill a term not in the written lease?

My current tenant has been a pain since the day she moved in. She is a spoiled child with a superiority complex. When she came to view the apartment last summer, the previous tenant had placed an AC on the window. I told her and her boyfriend that if I had an extra AC it would not be a problem for me to bring it and install it. She is now demanding the AC, saying that I promised her one and that her boyfriend is a witness to this supposed agreement. Do I have to supply her with an AC? The contract she signed said nothing about an AC.

Asked on May 28, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

A lease typically does not list or mention all the features, appliances, amenities, etc. of an apartment--for example, leases do not state that "stove comes with apartment." The issue is this: if there was an appliance in the apartment when the tenant viewed it, and some combination of circumstances and statements made would lead a "reasonable" tenant to believe that the appliance came with the apartment, then the landlord probably needs to provide it--that appliance is effectively incorporated into the lease, since it was part of what was in the apartment when the tenant agreed to rent it. In this situation, therefore, it doesn't matter so much what you think about the air conditioner as what a reasonable tenant would have believed was stated or  implied about the appliance--and what can be proven, if matters went to court.

In the future, you wish to, in your leases, specifically *exclude* anything excluded.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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