The Reason So Many Los Angeles Apartments Don't Come With Refrigerators

LA landlords expect tenants to provide their own appliance.
LA landlords expect tenants to provide their own appliance. / Siewwy84/iStock via Getty Images

Rental rates in Los Angeles are some of the most exorbitant in the United States, with even modest apartments going for thousands every month. At that price, you’d expect a few amenities. And generally, running water and electricity are available. But a lot of new tenants are surprised to find that there’s a giant empty space in kitchens.

There’s no refrigerator. Occupants are expected to bring or buy their own. Why?

Some of the blame falls on California property law. In the state, landlords aren’t required to provide a fridge as an amenity. And because they don’t have to, many of them—especially those maintaining dozens or hundreds of units—opt out of it to save the expense and hassle of repairing or replacing them if they stop working.

There are other states with similar policies. Florida, for example, doesn’t mandate fridges, either, yet few people report missing one in a rental. It’s possible that a fridge-less apartment market became entrenched in California early on, causing a kind of miserly contagion where landlords looked around, saw few other rental properties were offering one, and opted out, too. Once the market has settled and fridges aren’t expected, there’s little reason to provide them. As a result, savvy LA renters often tote their fridges from location to location.

While things have started to change a little—California landlords may now offer fridges, though in higher-tier units—a lot of renters in Los Angeles are still surfing want ads for used appliances or hoping the previous occupant might take pity and leave theirs behind. At least California still requires indoor plumbing.

[h/t The Los Angeles Times]