In the whole realm of managing your rental property, not much thought is given to your cooking appliances until the one you have starts giving you trouble. Since it is generally the landlord’s responsibility to provide cooking appliances, be a good landlord and take care the situation right away.

First, we need to think about whether to repair or replace. This is a judgment call on your part, and before you decide, you need to figure in a few items:

  • How old is the unit? A range can last for 20 years or even more, as we have units that work just fine at 30+ years old. But when they reach 15+ years the advantage of replacing starts to win.
  • Is the range a self-clean?  This is huge. You, or a cleaning company, can spend hours cleaning an oven. This cuts into your available deposit, and since judges do not clean ovens, your pleas for understanding will not be heard in court.
  • Is it ugly? Maybe extra money now to upgrade your rental is in order. Not too much, just clean and new is often enough to make your property more rental-able.
  • How much is the repair? We all know the adage that when the cost of repair is over 50%  of the cost to replace, it’s better to replace. But first, make sure that the cost to replace is the whole cost, not just the cost of the appliance. Meaning, the appliance,
    delivery, installation and haul away. Look at the condition of the unit. Is it almost new and the breakage is just a fluke? Maybe a repair is in order. There are many good and
    professional repair companies in town – and you can always refer to your ROA Bulletin Business Directory.
  • Can you fix it yourself?  There are many handy landlords, and a lot of the repairs are pretty easy. New range and oven burners are the easiest. (Buy new stove top pans while you’re at it). All in all, a stove is pretty simple, but if it’s electronic, you may want to leave it to the professionals. For how-to videos try and all this, you may decide to replace. So…what do I buy? First, you want cheap, but not too cheap. Then, the unit has to be self cleaning. Next, if you have an older drop-in unit, you may want to consider converting to a free-standing range, since most drop-ins are being phased out of production leaving supply low and prices high. I still like the regular coil burners for my rentals (even though I have a smooth top in my house). They are cheaper to buy and cheaper to fix. All major brands will suit you: Whirlpool, GE, Amana, LG and Frigidaire have all been installed with a slight advantage to Whirlpool in repairs costs. The unit does not have to be new. I have installed many good and functional appliances I’ve purchased from Craigslist or St. Vincent de Paul’s. If you’re going new, check around at all the major box stores and appliance outlets for prices. There can be a 25% difference in prices from store to store.Happy Landlording!

    This article was originally written for the Rental Owners Association of Lane County and adapted for EPM.