Is it too soon to ask my new landlord for a new oven?
February 15, 2009 7:49 PM   Subscribe

So, I moved into my new apartment 2 weeks ago, and finally found the time to cook my first real dinner. The problem is my oven. I love to cook, and it looks like this apartment came with an O'Keefe & Merritt oven, something mustard-colored out of the 70s (not the cool vintage 50s kind.) Two of the burners wouldn't light at all, and the other 2 lit, but when I turned them off and tried to re-light them they wouldn't. And this is my first older oven, so I guess you can't use the oven and the stovetop at the same time? Or at least I couldn't. This aggression will not stand. I guess my question is, after only 2 weeks of occupancy, how do I go about talking to my landlord about getting a new oven? Or talking her into getting a new oven, in these trying financial times. I guess that every tenant before me was fine with it but I could barely make edible pasta and garlic bread and that's not gonna work. Thoughts?
posted by buzzkillington to Home & Garden (15 answers total)
gas or electric?
posted by Pants! at 7:52 PM on February 15, 2009

"Hey, landlord, I think the oven doesn't work. Could you get someone to fix it?"

A working oven is kind of part of basic habitability for an apartment. Depending on where you live your landlord may be legally required to replace your oven. Better to ask right after move-in then six months in, which would just make your landlord think you broke it.
posted by phoenixy at 7:59 PM on February 15, 2009

Assuming it's a gas oven here.

Will the burners light if you use matches or a lighter? I used to use a range like that, where only two of the burners would self-light, but the other two would not. The oven worked just fine. I'm pretty sure they didn't work because the line between the constant flame and the pilot light was clogged, but I just kinda lived with it.

Mine was an O'Keefe (from the 50's). I assume the pilot light isn't out. As long as it's not leaking gas, it's safe.

But, ovens aren't that expensive these days; if your landlord owns multiple buildings, she may have an extra oven around. Your landlord will be interested in ensuring you remain a tenant in the apartment, and also that the apartment is in good shape for future tenants.

So, if it really bothers you, it doesn't hurt to ask in this situation.

And if it's an electric oven, it still doesn't hurt to ask.
posted by jabberjaw at 8:01 PM on February 15, 2009

This is going to depend on:
1. What country you live in
2. If it's a country of more than one State/province with its own tenancy legislation, what State you live in
3. Depending on that legislation, what kind of tenancy agreement you've made
4. Depending on that tenancy agreement, whether you've noted the oven/stovetop in any condition report.
You should first of all, call up your landlord or real estate agent and tell them you have a non-functioning stovetop. If they won't fix it or replace it, look up your local tenants' union or association, who can advise you of the next steps.
You should be able to have it fixed. Ask politely but firmly.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:02 PM on February 15, 2009

It's gas.

Good point, Phoenix. I guess I'm just wondering if it's just me since no one seems to have bothered about it before, but I'll call her tomorrow.

Also, when it cools down, it makes an intermittent loud clicking sound for what feels like hours.

I hate it and want a new one [insert petulant child voice and foot stomping here.]
posted by buzzkillington at 8:03 PM on February 15, 2009

Also, sorry I posted the question in the main area - I am still kind of new to posting. :\
posted by buzzkillington at 8:08 PM on February 15, 2009

And this is my first older oven, so I guess you can't use the oven and the stovetop at the same time?

I've lived in many places with older ovens, both gas and electric, and I've always been able to use the oven and stovetop at the same time. Your oven isn't working. Call the landlord and politely describe the problem, then mention you need to be able to cook in your new apartment - with all four burners and the oven - and would appreciate it if she could get it fixed as soon as possible. That's normal landlord stuff. If she doesn't fix it, then you have another situation entirely, probably one worth using another question for.
posted by mediareport at 8:10 PM on February 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Also, sorry I posted the question in the main area - I am still kind of new to posting. :\

Where else would you have posted it? Nothing about this was improper at all.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:14 PM on February 15, 2009

I had a similar issue with a vintage oven/stove at an apartment. The landlord sent over a repair guy who quickly fixed the issue (the lines were clogged), then he demonstrated how to light the pilots properly. There's a good chance if you ask your landlord for a new stove, you will get a really cheap electric one because they are more affordable. See if the gas one can be fixed first. Gas is so much nicer to cook with.
posted by pluckysparrow at 8:21 PM on February 15, 2009

Ugh, sounds like a hazard. Even if the landlord won't do anything, you're better off having the gas company shut it off at the main.

My old unit was leaking gas from the wall connection (!) After it was shut down properly, I threw that sucker to the curb and never looked back. I'd rather use a convection toaster oven and double burner than worry about it.
posted by aquafortis at 8:30 PM on February 15, 2009

Working appliances are a basic component of your agreement with your landlord. Keeping stuff up is part of the job and the expense is part of the operating costs of renting housing. How long you've been there isn't an issue, it wasn't right in the first place. Let your landlord know about the problems and don't feel any concern about it.

The clicking on cool down is probably just some sort of metal expansion/contraction issue and likely won't change, if your landlord opts for repair you will likely just have to live with it. I've had ovens that did the same.
posted by nanojath at 8:31 PM on February 15, 2009

Can you lift up the top of the oven and look underneath? The fantastic old oven in my fantastic old apartment had two pilot lights right underneath the cover. One for the left two burners and one for the right two burners. When I first moved in only one side of the stove worked, but it was pretty trivial to knock all the built up gunk off the pilot and relight it. They were also kind of sensitive. If you put the cover down too fast they would go out again. Take a peek, it's not rocket science.
posted by clockwork at 8:56 PM on February 15, 2009

I wouldn't worry about the timing. If something is going to go wrong with an apartment, it is most likely going to show up just after a new tenant moves in. The last person may just have put up with the shoddy range until the moved out. Also, different usage patterns sometimes put something on the verge of breaking over the edge. Having a working range is totally part of the rent you pay. Plus, a malfunctioning gas range can be a major hazard. I wouldn't hesitate to call them.
posted by Foam Pants at 9:15 PM on February 15, 2009

Nting that the lines are clogged. If you'd lived there awhile and the oven was previously fine, I'd give you all kinds of instructions about cleaning.

You're new. Let the landlord get a guy in there to clean and service your stove and oven. Few landlords are stupid enough to fuck around with the possibility of a gas explosion.
posted by desuetude at 10:02 PM on February 15, 2009

speaking as a landlord, i prefer tenants to notify me immediately when there is a problem with appliances, especially something like a gas stove where a poorly functioning appliance might lead to a huge disaster.

it is more than likely the previous tenant couldn't be bothered with telling the landlord, so you inherited the problem. never underestimate the power of people "just putting up with it" so that either they didn't have to talk to the landlord, or they feared that telling the landlord about a problem would result in rent being jacked up or fines levied.

since you are new to this apartment, and this landlord, it will be a perfect opportunity to see what kind of service you get for your rent dollar. remember, your landlord should be working *for you* and providing you a safe place to live with things in relatively working order.

a simple repair might do the trick if your landlord doesn't want to go through the hassle and expense of replacing it. the brand name you mention is well-known, repair should be easy.

if the stove is now beyond repair (thanks to a previous tenant not reporting it) then another option might be to get a reconditioned stove. this is what I do for my tenants, and I have a reputable used appliance dealer who goes over the appliances with a fine tooth comb before selling.

good luck, and please do contact your landlord a.s.a.p. and express that this is a safety issue.
posted by kuppajava at 9:03 AM on February 16, 2009

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