Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate)

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Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

Did the tenant install the water heater without the owner's knowledge or approval? Did the owner refuse or delay repair/replacement of the water heater when it was broken? Was there any specific agreement addressing this? Is there anything in the lease addressing this? Too many variables in this scenario. The short answer is it's a fixture but there's too many questions before you get to that.

Sep 29, 2016 05:35 AM
Eve Alexander
Buyers Broker of Florida - Orlando, FL
Exclusively Representing ONLY Orlando Home Buyers

I don't get it...since when does a tenant fix anything? 

The state lease I use addresses any improvements as permanent fixtures that must be left.


Sep 29, 2016 03:48 AM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

if it were me, my answer would be "over my dead body".... that's a fixture now... he offered to provide it...I said thank you...and now it's mine... 

Sep 29, 2016 04:05 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Talk about being in hot water...A

Sep 29, 2016 08:31 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Primary undisputed function of the unit. Removing it is damages. Punitive damages if they do it and are told not too. The cause of action would be found in what happened when the old unit gave up and what was said. We already know what was done.

Sep 29, 2016 05:06 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Here that would be covered in the contract. If home grown lease and not covered, attorney time since tenant has an attorney, but I would think it should remain. Cost of the battle will probably be more than the water heater

Sep 29, 2016 04:42 AM
Tony Lewis
RE/MAX of Valencia (Hall of Fame) 30 year Valencia Resident - Valencia, CA
Summit Real Estate Santa Clarita & Aliso Viejo

This should be covered in the contract.  I have rentals and if it happened to me I'd pay the tenant the amount they paid.  That is much cheaper than going to court and having a new water heater is a benefit.  When we go to court, everyone loses.  Time, stress, money rhythm of life, no benefit unless to protect ourselves.

Sep 29, 2016 04:00 AM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

IMHO the water heater now belongs to the property owner.

Sep 29, 2016 03:40 AM
Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

In my opinion the tenant should have had the landlord replace the water heater. As far as it being a fixture...the general rule of thumb is...if you need a tool to remove it, it stays. 

I don't deal with tenants (thank goodness), but my feeling is that one is going to lose. 

Sep 29, 2016 01:15 PM
Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker - Evanston, IL
Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917

I think the tenant looses here. Is he  (or she) to move out and leave no hot water heater?

Sep 29, 2016 01:09 PM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

It is connected and a fixture much like a heating and air unit is part of the property. You cannot allow people to start taking out parts of the house when they move on. However, read the lease and decide.

Sep 29, 2016 01:05 PM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

The tenent will lose, but you may need to negotiate some payment to stay out of court

Sep 29, 2016 12:10 PM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

This is a mess - then the homeowner should insist that the tenant replace the hotwater heater - I actually think that the tenant is either liable for replacing the hot water heater that he disposed of or... he is a volunteer in that he installed the hotwater heater as a "gift" and now it is a fixture which cannot be removed. 

Sep 29, 2016 11:50 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, CRB, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Oh brother that tenant is getting some hot water haha (if that were in AZ anyway).  Landlord should have replaced the H2O heater but that doesn't give the tenant a right to 1)install it without landlords written consent or 2) take it with him.

Sep 29, 2016 10:33 AM
Les & Sarah Oswald
Realty One Group - Eastvale, CA
Broker, Realtor and Investor

Interesting. I would say that if the tenant replaced the water heater, he surely can take it with him at the end of the lease. However, he must put back the original one that he disposed of. Hence, landlord has every right to deduct the value of the old heater and the cost to install it. 

Sep 29, 2016 08:31 AM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Fred Griffin Unless there was a clause in the lease, I would say upon installation the hot water heater became a fixture and is part of and attached to the real property. After reading your answer to Mike & Eve Alexander , it looks like this is a decision for the Court.

Sep 29, 2016 06:07 AM
Jill Murty, Realtor - Orange County, CA
Sunset Properties, Powered by Movoto - Laguna Niguel, CA

The installation of the water heater is a significant part of the overall cost.  It makes no sense for the tenant to take the water heater with him.  

The landlord should pay for the water heater and installation as long as the tenant was not the cause of the water heater needing replacement.  This all should have been worked out before the new water heater was purchased and installed. 

Sep 29, 2016 04:46 AM
Caroline Gerardo
Sun West Mortgage Corporation - Newport Beach, CA
C. G. Barbeau the Loan Lady nmls 324982

Landlord used an alternative lease which has no language about this--- Going to court, even small claims is a nerve rattle and pain. Landlord may need to hire an attorney which is more expensive than the water heater ( at $300 or more an hour landlord might pay $5000 for attorney to appear. The water heater belongs to landlord. Is tenant planning on putting back old rusty one? I don't think so... Courts tend to favor tenant and feel sorry for them so even if landlord is right - the water heater belongs with real estate- will tenant come up with photos of crummy broken water heater? Offer tenant $500 as the water heater is no longer "new" - don't offer it as a credit. Offer $500 cashier's check the day after moving out and place is spic and span

Sep 29, 2016 04:31 AM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

Here, it belongs to the owner. If tenant removes it, tenant can be arrested.

Sep 29, 2016 03:58 AM
Jennifer Mackay
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582

First off there is no way the tenant did that without my approval!

So, it's staying with the property and it's in my lease !

Sep 30, 2016 03:00 AM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Did the tenant obtain a building permit for the mew water heater?  I think it's required in most of Florida.

Sep 30, 2016 12:07 AM
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc. - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

The water heater is a fixture. Why the heck would the tenant have done that? The landlord is generally required to provide hot water. If the HWH was broken, then the tenant should be reimbursed for purchasing and installing the unit.

Sep 29, 2016 11:45 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Pro bono lawyer is wasting his time. A hot water heater is a fixture. Tenant loses and if he does take it, he will be liable for damages

Sep 29, 2016 11:42 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

I couldn't begin to answer this question... and I suspect it would also depend on local jurisdictions. But at the least, if tenant takes "his" water heater, I would think he'd have to replace the one he chucked.

Sep 29, 2016 11:32 PM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty

fixture. period.

Sep 29, 2016 11:06 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

This should be covered in the lease/rental agreement.   It may be time for the landlord to contact an attorney.  

Sep 29, 2016 10:58 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Legal quesion, though I know the answer. Read the lease.

Sep 29, 2016 10:01 PM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

A negotiated settlement is in order.

Sep 29, 2016 08:45 PM
Toronto, ON

It would depend upon the contract and applicable legislation, regulations etc.

Sep 29, 2016 05:05 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Fred Griffin - the water heater 'stays'!

Now it may be that landlord will end up compensating the tenant for that, possibly.

Sep 29, 2016 04:04 PM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Depends on what the lease says!

Sep 29, 2016 03:30 PM
Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Debbie Laity 

  I like your rule of thumb - "if you need a tool to remove it..."

Sep 29, 2016 01:21 PM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

Legal issue. 

Sep 29, 2016 09:44 AM
Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®
Carmel by the Sea, CA
Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea

There should be a state landlord tenant code that addresses this. Just writing up any ol' contract doesn't absolve the landlord or tenant from state laws. Go to small claims court. No lawyer necessary. But then, I'm not a lawyer.

Sep 29, 2016 09:34 AM
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

Tenants never going to win this one. Never should have installed it.

Sep 29, 2016 07:35 AM
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

Why a tenant would have one installed would be my question. The landlord should have undertaken the responsibility. If the tenant has receipts, pay for it. That will be so much less expensive than a litigated result. 

Sep 29, 2016 07:30 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, EXP - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

I suspect that the landlord will win the suit, but is it worth it?

Learned long ago that tenants will pull this nearly everytime, I dont let them do these types of repairs.

Sep 29, 2016 06:17 AM
Harry F. D'Elia III
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

OK ask the broker on this one.

Sep 29, 2016 05:10 AM
Diana Zaccaro
Tropical Beachside brokered by eXp - Cocoa Beach, FL
"The Accidental Blogger" Cocoa Beach, Florida

Read the should address issues like this.


Sep 29, 2016 04:29 AM