Landlord refusing to replace broken washing machine


New Member
My landlord is refusing to replace our broken washing machine. It is included the list of appliances that are in our lease : "this unit includes the following appliances: washer and dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator" etc. she says she does not legally have to provide us with one because it isn't something that makes the apartment uninhabitable. However we need to know if she can legally do this because we are viewing it as her breaking the lease since it is included in the lease. We withheld the cost of laundry for the past month from rent and she said this: "Hi Emily, unfortunately due to CA law you cannot withhold rent for amentities. If the full amount of rent is not received by the date stated on the lease there will be a late fee applied. Also, if that is not paid within a substantial amount of time my attorney will be sending a notice of late rent and demand for payment. "
It may be a breach of contract for which you are entitled to monetary compensation and an amendment of the lease going forward. It's not "breaking the lease."

I suggest you find a new place to live at your earliest possible opportunity because your landlord is a schmuck.
One thing I'd like to add: Withholding rent is not appropriate in this situation. Do a web search for California Repair and Deduct
We withheld the cost of laundry for the past month

Bad move. Pay your rent in full.

The landlord is not legally required to provide a washing machine, however if you believe the machine is factored in to your rent you can bring a civil claim against the landlord for what you believe your damages are for not having its use.
It is certainly easiest for the landlord to simply fix it or replace it, but if they don't you might be owed something.
By not paying your rent in full you are giving the landlord justification to begin an eviction against you, and you don't want that.

Read your lease carefully and see what it says about informing the landlord of needed repairs. Often this must be done in writing. Put pen to paper and make that happen... Politely.

I also agree it may be best to start searching for a new home. No matter how this turns out the relationship is likely not going to improve.
Typically you are required to give prior notice (written) to the landlord before resorting to any repair or self-help to which you require for remedy. You should certainly mention and point to the clause which indicates that the landlord is obligated under the lease and ask what the landlord is proposing - that they are willfully not repairing claiming they can simply collect and force you to pay in full? Perhaps you should consider what @mightymoose is saying and send notice to the landlord that his decision not to repair what he is obligated may result in your needing to go to court where you will sue for your damages.

What your landlord may be referring to is that such a breach of your lease is a minor breach which would not automatically cause the lease to terminate, freeing you completely from your obligations. This occurs most often when the "warranty of habitability" is breached - that your residence has a condition which makes it unsafe to live or inhabit and you are involuntarily evicted from your residence.

Some consider their remedies at the end of the lease, such as factoring into the equation what they contractually have the right to deduct plus their security deposit in the month or two prior to their vacating the premises. The tenant has more leverage at that point as the landlord will need to risk funding a lawsuit over a small amount of money, which it may also come to court with unclean hands in being the first party to breach the agreement. I haven't practiced in California and cannot tell you what I have seen done there and, accordingly, I am not telling you what you should do. Good luck.