Unless explicitly written into the lease, am I allowed to hook up my own washing machine even if the owner is paying the water bill?

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Unless explicitly written into the lease, am I allowed to hook up my own washing machine even if the owner is paying the water bill?

I have been told by another landlord that unless in the contract it states you may not hook up to water, you are allowed.

Asked on October 12, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The answer is not quite that simple. A lease is a contract; when a lease is "silent" as to an issue, then, if there is a dispute, the courts will try to infer or find the parties' intention, looking to the circumstances. In many cases, you could hook up your own washing machine--for example, in an apartment or stand-alone home which has a laundry room or existing hookups for a washing machine. Or if the landlord had stated that you could do this (even if that statement did not make its way into the lease), or not answered "no" if you asked about hooking up a washing machine.

On the other hand, take an apartment which obviously has never had a washing machine in it, lacks a dedicated or obvious space for one, and has no existing plumbing hookups for it. In that case, the circumstances suggest strongly that the apartment was to be leased as one without in-premises laundry, and a court would likely find that it could not have been reasonably in the parties' mutual contemplation to hook up a washing machine where one had never been hooked up before.


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