Can we insist on our landlord replacing a faulty washing machine?

Property Clinic: He’s tried to fix it five times but we just want him to get us a new one

‘It won’t drain and ends up flooding our kitchen’ Photograph: iStock

‘It won’t drain and ends up flooding our kitchen’ Photograph: iStock

 

Our rented accommodation has a washing machine that is causing us constant problems. It won’t drain and ends up flooding our kitchen. Our landlord keeps trying to fix it himself and it works for a while but then breaks again. This is the fifth time. We just want a new washing machine. Do we have a right to demand one?

It appears that the property is being managed by the landlord himself rather than engaging a managing agent. In that case he is the first point of contact for you to have this resolved. You need to refer to your lease agreement to clarify if there are any special conditions regarding who is responsible for maintaining appliances.

Normally it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure appliances are in a satisfactory working condition unless the machine has been abused by over-filling or putting in clothes without emptying pockets, cleaning out the filter etc, in which case it would be your responsibility to cover the cost of repair/replacement.

Assuming this is not the case and the machine breaks down through no fault of your own, it would be reasonable for you to request – and expect – that your landlord promptly replace it and have a new machine installed, or have an appliance specialist assess why the machine is not draining properly.

It would be prudent to outline to your landlord the damage this is causing to the kitchen floor and how it would be more cost-effective to replace the machine rather than ultimately a new floor.

Alternatively, you could suggest to your landlord that you will have a new washing machine installed at an agreed budget and deduct the cost from the next rent payment. If the problem remains unresolved, the landlord is most likely to be in breach of his responsibility to you as his tenant for not ensuring the appliance is maintained in satisfactory working order.

Failing agreement on these two approaches, contact the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) for advice. You will need to give written notice of your concerns in conjunction with initiating a dispute resolution through the RTB. Naturally, it is always best to try to have such issues resolved by direct communication with your landlord in the first instance.

Roger M Berkeley is a chartered residential surveyor and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, scsi.ie

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