If a tenant breaks something, it’s generally the tenant’s responsibility to pay for it. It’s the same as when a consumer enters a retail store. You know the motto, “You break it. You buy it.” There could be some wiggle room in both scenarios.
In the store, a consumer could claim that the store was so cluttered that they couldn’t help but fall into the display of drinking glasses. If that were true, it might be the store’s fault, and the consumer would not have to pay. In the garbage disposal case, a tenant could claim that the disposal was old, had been acting up, and then just broke.
Who is paying?
If that were true, the landlord would need to pay. But if the tenant turned on the disposal while a spoon was in it (or whatever they did to break it), they would have to pay for a new garbage disposal or to get that one fixed.