Below, check out this great article that was just posted by Boston.com:

Every landlord needs to find his/her own balance. If the rent is competitive and the apartment is nice, a landlord can choose from a larger pool of tenants. That increases the odds of getting a tenant who reliably pays the rent, takes care of the place, and is not high-maintenance. Slumlords get slummy tenants and no one is happy. But how many tenant requests is a landlord required to do?

P. asked me:

What to do when tenant wants a repair when you think the repair is silly (one loose tile in 100 sq ft of tile)?
What happens when appliances fail in the rental (frig, dish washer etc)?

Like all things in landlord-tenant relationships, there should be room for discretion and negotiation. There is a lot of variation in expectation based on whether the rental is expensive for its type, competitive, or cheap.

The tenant is not being high-maintenance if the tenant is paying through the nose. If the apartment is top-of-the-line and is drawing a top-of-the-line rental charge, then that tile better be fixed. You, as a landlord, are collecting rent on luxury and need to provide luxury.

For a place with a moderate rental fee, if the kitchen looks fine -- except if you get on your hands and knees and stare at the floor – that’s different. It is reasonable to expect moderate rent-payers to accept imperfection until you get around to making cosmetic changes. If it really bothers them, you might do it to feel on the side of the angels. Do beware of the unintended consequences: once you do a silly repair, you may open the door for more silly repair requests.

As for the appliances. By law, an apartment must have a working stove. Dishwashers are optional. Refrigerators, washers and dryers do not need to be provided by the landlord in Massachusetts.

If an apartment is equipped with an appliance when it is rented, then the landlord needs to keep a working appliance in the unit. The tenants are used to it and should not have to do without it. So, if the apartment has a dishwasher and it craps out, get another one. That’s the general rule.
I have one exception in mind: If your apartment has a garbage disposal, I think you should take it out the next time your unit turns over. Those things constantly need to be babied and are just not worth the bother.

Do you have different advice for P.? Landlords, have you done silly repairs and lived to regret it? Tenants, do you think P. is being unfair to say a broken tile is silly?