My wife and I have a rental property (dammit).
Condo I wish we had sold, but she insisted we hang onto it.
We pay a realtor to 'manage' it since we live about 1.5hrs away.
Realtor contacted us today, fridge died. No worries, I'll get on the phone and schedule delivery of a new fridge. It's the weekend, so might be a few days. I offered to deliver a working mini-fridge, same day.
Now realtor says tenant claims he has $500 worth of food in fridge (yea right). And wants to be put up in a hotel (yea right). And might hold back $500 from next month's rent (yea right).
My take on things: any spoilt food (gold leaf ice cream?) is a renters insurance claim...
Alternate housing? this guy can go screw...
If he withholds rent?, it'll come out of his security deposit on the back end...
What say the LR?
Tenants have rights to what's called "quiet enjoyment" and any specific health, living and safety requirements required by law as well as those explicitly stated in the lease, and that's about it (these are usually called "implied warranty of habitability"). All of what you described -- outside of the refrigerator (which I'm assuming was included with the condo and is part of the monthly rent) -- is what renter's insurance exists for.
My dad and I own 10 rental homes. We deal with this stuff on occasion (and they're all in Detroit, so you can imagine how squirrelly that can get ;-). Don't fold on this kind of thing or it'll get worse in the future. If the tenant wants to be a real noodge about that $500, haul him into small claims court, or even institute eviction proceedings (both are a bit extreme, but they're there) for failure to abide by lease terms. At minimum, you might not have to renew his lease if he keeps that up.
I wrote this article for the San Francisco Chronicle
about whether landlords can refuse to renew leases without cause. It might give you some ammo. This article is about just who's responsible for repairs, tenants or landlords.
I'm sure you already know you have a responsibility to fix or replace the fridge. Refer the tenant to his renter's insurance policy when it comes to his supposed $500 worth of food. You did require him, as part of his lease, to attain and maintain a renter's insurance policy, right? ;-)