How to Get Rid of Household-Installed Appliances
Many units, especially older ones, aren’t set up to handle washing machines, dryers, and other large appliances. But even if your units don’t have hookups or the capacity to handle these appliances, some residents may still bring in portable units and connect them to the electrical outlets and plumbing fixtures. These machines can cause power failures, sewage backups, floods, and hot- and cold-water surges that can affect other residents at your tax credit site. They can also run up your water and electricity bills if you pay for residents’ utilities yourself.
To protect yourself, put a clause in your lease banning washing machines and other large appliances. And if a resident violates the lease, send him a letter telling him to get rid of the machine or face eviction.
What to Say in Lease
Tell residents that they can’t install or use washing machines, dryers, or other large appliances in their units without your consent. Prohibit both “using” and “installing” them because a resident may claim that using a portable machine isn’t the same as installing a permanent one. And rather than ban all large appliances outright, require residents to ask permission to use them, says Florida attorney John McMillan. Requiring permission gives you the option of approving an appliance if a particular unit can accommodate it. Just make sure you stick to the policy of giving written permission. Otherwise, a resident could claim that you said it was okay to have an appliance, and you’ll have trouble proving otherwise. Check with your attorney about including a clause like this one in your lease:
Model Lease Clause
Appliances. Resident may not install or use any large gas- or electric-powered appliance or equipment without the prior written consent of Owner, including, but not limited to, washing machines, dryers, air conditioners, or space heaters, whether portable or not.
Send Letter if Resident Doesn’t Comply
As soon as you find out that a resident has an unauthorized appliance, call the resident to remind him that he’s violating his lease and must get rid of the machine. Set up an appointment to inspect the unit to make sure it’s gone. If the resident continues to use the appliance, send him an adapted version of our Model Letter: Send Letter to Resident with Prohibited Appliance. Be sure to enforce your ban immediately. Otherwise, a court may say you gave up—or "waived"—your right to do so.
John E. McMillan, Esq.: Attorney at Law, 5309 E. Busch Blvd., Temple Terrace, FL 33617; www.johnemcmillan.com.
See The Model Tools For This Article
|Send Letter to Resident with Prohibited Appliance|