Can Your Landlord Evict You For Having A Washing Machine?
Having a washer and drier in your rental unit can be a real game changer. When you are busy or have a large family, taking your clothes to the laundromat can feel like a full-time job. It may be very shocking and frustrating when your landlord asks you to remove your washer and drier or face eviction. In addition to the shock, you may wonder if your landlord could evict you for having a washing machine in the first place.
There are several circumstances in which a landlord can evict you for having a washing machine. If your lease states there can be no washing machines or large appliances then you face eviction if you do not remove it. If your washing machine violates any municipal or building codes you can also face eviction if the washing machine is not taken out.
Before you can determine if you need to remove your washer or face eviction, you should first understand the landlord’s perspective.
Why Do Landlords Not Want Washing Machines?
Before you wonder whether or not your landlord can evict you it is important to understand why landlords may not want the machines in the unit.
If your landlord covers your water cost then he or she will likely not want you to add a washer and drier. Even if you as a tenant cover the electricity involved, the water bill will likely significantly increase over time.
Often, a landlord does not include a washer and drier in the unit because the building itself is not zoned or equipped to have them. Washers require a certain amount of drainage capacity. Many buildings, especially old buildings, do not have the capacity to handle the amount of water draining required for a washer machine.
Another major concern landlords have when it comes to washing machines is potential water damage. Washing machines can leak. Sometimes the leaking occurs behind the machine unbeknownst to the machine operator. Over time the floors can deteriorate, and there can even be mold issues.
Check Your Lease
If you are questioning whether or not your landlord can evict you for having a washing machine the first place you should look is your lease. There are several things to look for, and they might not say “washing machine” outright.
Mention of Washing Machines
If the lease mentions anything about not having a washing machine, then it’s that simple. You have to get rid of the washing machine upon the landlord’s request or you can face eviction.
Mention Of Appliances
Your lease may not say “washing machine” specifically. Sometimes the landlord will include verbiage like “large appliances,” or a mention of devices that require significant utility usage. These clauses are often included as slightly more broad umbrellas to prohibit large appliances from being installed in their homes without permission.
Mention Of Water Usage or Drainage
There may be no mention of appliances at all. There may, instead, be clear water usage and/or drainage guidelines. If your washing machine violates any water usage or drainage rules, then you will have to stop using it.
Check Your Municipal Code
Sometimes your landlord does not need to put anything in the lease at all. Some municipal codes have specific rules about drainage. Be sure to research the municipal codes where you live to see if your machine is in violation of any codes.
These codes not only vary from state to state but also from one county to another. Be sure to research the rules in your county specifically. If you live in a large building then you should review their house rules as well.
Tip: The municipal code often refers to the size of the drainage pipe and opening. Be sure your drainage pipe is of the proper size.
When Your Landlord Gives You Notice
There are several types of notice your landlord can present you with in order to begin the eviction process. One common notice is the 14 Day Pay or Vacate Notice. This notice would be served if you are behind on rent. When it comes to having a washing machine in your apartment, you will likely receive a different warning notice.
10 Day Notice to comply with the terms of the rental agreement or vacate
If your landlord believes you are violating the terms of the lease he may serve you with a “10 Day Notice To Comply With The Terms Of The Rental Agreement Or Vacate” notice. This notice will detail what the landlord believes you are in violation of. In this case he would state your washing machine goes against the terms of your lease.
The notice will serve as the start of a clock that will reach 10 days. If you still have not removed the washing machine after the tenth day your landlord may decide to begin the official eviction process. If you have any questions about the notice or do not believe you are in violation you should use the ten days to resolve the dispute. Be sure to document all correspondences to ensure your landlord does not unlawfully end your lease early.
If You Are In The Wrong, Ditch The Machine
If your lease states you cannot have a washing machine and your landlord asks you to remove it then you should comply. It will be very difficult for you to prove your case if it is clearly stated in the lease.
If the removal will take some time then communicate that with your landlord. Once the eviction process officially begins it can move quickly. You may think getting rid of your washing machine is inconvenient. If you get evicted and kicked out of your apartment it will be far more inconvenient.
Forget Eviction, You Can Be Sued For Damages
If you are worried that your landlord may evict you for your washing machine you should also consider the larger consequences. There may be even bigger consequences than eviction in store for you.If you knowingly violate your lease by having a washing machine you can even be sued.
Although not all washing machines malfunction, it does happen. Some washing machines are better than others, but a leak can happen in even the best machine. A major washing machine malfunction can result in significant flooding. This flooding can permanently damage the rental unit and cost thousands to repair.
If you live in a building with lots of neighbors then their property can get damaged as well. Depending on the level of your negligence, you can potentially be held accountable for some or even all of the damages that resulted from the washing machine. This is important to consider when you install the machine for “convenience.”
Do Portable Washing Machines Really Work?
Portable washing machines can be a highly effective alternative for those who have a limited amount of space in their home. A portable machine is also often the only option for those who do not have a permanent hot and cold water hookup.
A portable washing machine is not a substitute for a high-functioning washer and drier. Still, there are many trusted products on the market.
Can I install A Hot Tub In My Back Yard If I Rent My House?
Whenever you install a large appliance it is a good idea to ask the landlord first. There are often many laws and safety guidelines when it comes to hot tubs. Be sure to communicate with the landlord.
If the landlord gives your the go ahead, be sure you are following all safety guidelines.
Does My Landlord Have To Fix My Washer If It Breaks?
If your washer breaks down you should check your lease before taking any further steps. In many states landlords are not obligated to provide all appliances in the rental unit. This means that even though your apartment has a washer does not mean it is included in the rental price.
Some landlords have clauses stating that any appliances are “as is” and any repairs must be made at the tenants expense. If you do not see any such clause then you should next contact your landlord before hiring someone to fix it or buying a new washer.
Wrapping It Up
At the end of the day it is important to know that when you bring a washing machine into your rental unit you landlord can ask you to remove it. There is a chance that the landlord has not included anything in the lease against washing machines. If your washing machine does not violate municipal codes or the lease then your landlord should not be able to evict you.
Remember that your landlord does have the ability to make adjustments to the lease when the lease ends. If you plan on staying at the property for a long time you should try and come to an agreement with the landlord.
If your landlord is starting the eviction process and you believe you are in the right, contact the fair housing department. You can also seek legal council.
Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.
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