What to do if a tenant demands that a landlord fulfill a term not in the written lease?

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What to do if a tenant demands that a landlord fulfill a term not in the written lease?

My current tenant has been a pain since the day she moved in. She is a spoiled child with a superiority complex. When she came to view the apartment last summer, the previous tenant had placed an AC on the window. I told her and her boyfriend that if I had an extra AC it would not be a problem for me to bring it and install it. She is now demanding the AC, saying that I promised her one and that her boyfriend is a witness to this supposed agreement. Do I have to supply her with an AC? The contract she signed said nothing about an AC.

Asked on May 28, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A lease typically does not list or mention all the features, appliances, amenities, etc. of an apartment--for example, leases do not state that "stove comes with apartment." The issue is this: if there was an appliance in the apartment when the tenant viewed it, and some combination of circumstances and statements made would lead a "reasonable" tenant to believe that the appliance came with the apartment, then the landlord probably needs to provide it--that appliance is effectively incorporated into the lease, since it was part of what was in the apartment when the tenant agreed to rent it. In this situation, therefore, it doesn't matter so much what you think about the air conditioner as what a reasonable tenant would have believed was stated or  implied about the appliance--and what can be proven, if matters went to court.

In the future, you wish to, in your leases, specifically *exclude* anything excluded.


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