For homeowners, it’s clear who has to pay when an appliance breaks—handling household repairs is one of the many responsibilities that come with owning property. But as a renter, your obligation to appliance upkeep isn’t so black and white.
Under federal law, tenants have the right to a habitable home, or a home that is safe, sanitary, and functional. If the broken appliance is serious—like a furnace in the winter—the home is technically uninhabitable. But if the broken appliance is a refrigerator or oven, the situation is open to interpretation. In fact, each state has its own standards for rental repairs.