Take Other Things, but Leave the Fridge

Q.  I recently moved out of an apartment I had lived in for over 20 years. Because I had replaced my refrigerator, air-conditioner and stove, I advised the management I would be taking them with me. They have kept $900 of my $1,400 security deposit. Can they do this?
A.  “A landlord is required to maintain the existing appliances and provide working replacement appliances if the existing ones break down beyond repair,” saidDavid A. Kaminsky, a Manhattan real estate lawyer. A tenant may not dispose of the old ones without the landlord’s written consent. He says landlords will often refuse, offer the tenant a new appliance and increase the rent by one-fortieth of its cost. Even if the landlord agrees, the departing tenant most likely has the obligation to leave a working appliance in the unit.

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