Who pays for furnace repair in a rented house?

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Who pays for furnace repair in a rented house?

Our furnace stopped working when it was 30 degrees outside. I called my landlord to tell her and she replied that she had a contractor who could come the next morning. I have tried fixing the furnace myself and when I couldn’t I called her again to ask if I can call a technician to come fix the problem tonight. She replied that I can. Later someone came in and fixed everything for $1,000. I paid the bill and sent the invoice to my landlord to get our money back for the repair. She now refuses to pay and claims she didn’t agree that I will get someone to fix this. Do I have a case to sue?

Asked on January 22, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

To determine whose responsibility it was to pay for the malfunctioning furnace in the rental that you have, you need to carefully read the presumed written lease that you have. It determines the obligations owed to you by the landlord and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

If the written agreement does not state that it is the tenant's responsibility to pay for the furnace to be fixed, then it is the landlord's responsibility. The landlord's reply that you could get a technician to fix the furnace also indicates her agreement to pay for the repair.

You have good facts to sue the landlord for the $1,000 in small claims court if she refuses to reimburse you this amount.


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