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Ask S. Kincaid Your Own Question
S. Kincaid
S. Kincaid, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 2512
Experience:  Experience working with evictions, subsidized housing issues and mobile home issues.
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I live in state. Our oven broke (stopped heating completely)

Customer Question

I live in Washington state. Our oven broke (stopped heating completely) Friday July 28th, and we notified our landlord Saturday July 29th. They responded July 31st asking us to send them measurements of our oven, which we did that same day. They have never come out to check our oven, and it is now August 7th, with no new oven. Is there a time limit to when they should have either replaced or repaired this oven?
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: Washington state
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: We have only reported the broken oven to the property management company we rent the apartment from
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  S. Kincaid replied 2 months ago.

If your request was in writing, the landlord has passed the deadline. You may want to remind him of his obligations, or you can pursue more aggressive action. Pursuant to RCW 59.18.070, the landlord must remediate the problem after receipt of such notice by the tenant as soon as possible but not later than the following time periods, except where circumstances are beyond the landlord's control:

(1) Not more than twenty-four hours, where the defective condition deprives the tenant of hot or cold water, heat, or electricity, or is imminently hazardous to life;

(2) Not more than seventy-two hours, where the defective condition deprives the tenant of the use of a refrigerator, range and oven, or a major plumbing fixture supplied by the landlord; and

(3) Not more than ten days in all other cases.

In each instance the burden shall be on the landlord to see that remedial work under this section is completed promptly. If completion is delayed due to circumstances beyond the landlord's control, including the unavailability of financing, the landlord shall remedy the defective condition as soon as possible.

If you have not put the request in writing, do so right away, along with a copy of the deadline for the repair and the legal citation above. Here is a sample letter to request repairs. If after the three day period the landlord still refuses to make the repair, you have the following option:

You cannot, under any circumstances, withhold the rent.

  • Move out: You may terminate the rental agreement by giving the landlord written notice and moving out immediately without further obligation under the rental agreement. You will be entitled to a refund of any prepaid rent and the security deposit under the security deposit rules.

  • File a lawsuit: You may sue the landlord in state court for any remedy provided by the Act or other law.

  • Arbitration or mediation: If the landlord agrees, you may try to settle the dispute through arbitration or mediation.

  • If you are current on rent and utilities, you can use Repair and Deduct.

Repair and Deduct is a remedy where you may have the repair done and then deduct the actual costs from future rent payments. You can deduct up to two months' worth of rent. You could pay no rent for two months in a row, if you paid the maximum amount on repairs. You cannot deduct more for each repair than two months' rent. You cannot deduct more than two months' rent in any twelve-month period.

To use the Repair and Deduct remedy, you must:

  • Be current in rent and any utilities in your name.

  • Deliver a written notice to the landlord or person who collects the rent.

  • Wait until the the three days are up before going ahead with the repair and deduct remedy.

  • Give the landlord, by first class mail or in person, your own good faith written estimate of the repair cost and written notice of the need for repair if a licensed or registered repair person must do it OR the repair cost will be more than two months' rent.

You must let the landlord inspect the work. You should give the landlord written notice that the repairs have been finished and are available for inspection within a reasonable time.

After the landlord has inspected the work or been given a reasonable chance to do so, you may deduct the cost of repairs from the next month's rent.

You can use "Repair and Deduct" to do the repairs yourself, if:

  • the cost of the repair is not more than one month's rent AND

  • the repair does not require a licensed repair person

If you make the repairs yourself, you can deduct a maximum of one month's rent from the next month's payment of rent. You cannot deduct more than one month's rent for each self-help repair. You cannot deduct more than one month's rent in any twelve-month period. You do not have to give the landlord a separate written estimate of the cost of repairs for a self-help repair. However, the repair must be done in a workman-like manner. Also, you must give the landlord a chance to inspect the work. You should give the landlord written notice that the repairs have been finished and are ready for inspection. The written notice may suggest a date for an inspection. You may also put that if the landlord does not reply by that date or suggest another date for the inspection, you will assume the landlord approves of the work without inspection.

After the landlord has inspected the work or has been given a reasonable chance to do so, you may deduct the cost of repairs from the next month's rent.

Do you have any other questions?