D.C. landlords are not required to provide or maintain T.V.s, smart home functionality, or other premium amenities. However, some leases (perhaps in luxury building) may include promises from landlords they will fix them.
If There’s No Lease
If there is no lease or the lease is silent about fixing appliances, furnishings, and the broken appliance or furnishing, then landlords does not have to provide such amenities or fix them.
If There Is a Lease
While rare, the lease might state that the landlord is responsible for maintaining appliances in good condition or that they will otherwise make such repairs. It’s very unlikely that the lease will say the word “TV” or “television” so look for a section on the landlord’s obligations to fix household items.
If the lease does promise the TV or another amenity, then the landlord must fix it per the terms of the lease. If the landlord violates that section of the lease, the tenant is free to move out or take the landlord to landlord-tenant court or small claims court. There, they may get a court order or perhaps a reduction in rent. Overall, there are not strong protections for tenants if the landlord does not restore these services in a D.C. apartment.
Landlords are always required to fix or remove items that may cause physical injuries to the tenant. If the landlord knew (or should have known) about a foreseeable risk of injury to a tenant and didn’t take reasonable steps to prevent that injury, the landlord will be responsible for injuries and damage to personal property. For example, if a broken TV is emitting smoke and the tenant reported the problem to the landlord, the landlord will be responsible if it causes a fire or the smoke causes health issues.
State and Local Laws
Laws differ heavily by state, county, and city. Use RenterPeace to see more specific laws for to a given apartment and to see comments from people in your area.
Documenting the Problem
For most problems, tenants should document their issues, notify their landlord (document this too!), and stay informed about their rights. Renterpeace is a free website that helps with each step of this process. Tenants use RenterPeace to more easily see applicable laws, track their problems, and much more. There's a reason RenterPeace was selected "Best of" legal apps for both Android and iOS. It also includes household management tools, like a chore manager and bill tracker. Try it - you don't even to login first.
Using Property Management
To stay updated and organized about the problems in their apartments, landlords should use a property management system. Many are expensive or have high setup fees, but using RenterPeace for landlords is free. It's complete with legal compliance tips targeted to their problems, maintenance tracking, tenant screening, money-saving grant information, and tenant chat. It makes managing properties easier and staying updated about status of rental properties a breeze. Try it today.