Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (also known as HVAC) systems on rental properties serve many purposes. Whether it is maintaining a comfortable temperature, regulating the humidity, or maintaining the air quality in a space, HVAC systems are essential.
As a landlord, this acronym requires particular attention. Keeping your rental unit at a comfortable temperature all year round is key to having happy tenants. But did you know that a well-maintained HVAC system is also vital for keeping your rental property in good condition?
Maintaining a Rental Property
Any homeowner will tell you that owning a home is no small task. It takes continuous maintenance and hard work to keep it running safely and efficiently. Rental property maintenance can be very time consuming and expensive.
However, a rental property, while it may be “out of sight, out of mind” for some landlords, the maintenance can be harder to keep up. As a landlord, it can be unclear when it is your responsibility versus your tenants’ responsibility.
Tenants are required to inform their landlord when something is faulty. Ignoring those faults can cause them to grow into larger problems. This will later require more time and money to fix them properly. For the property owner, it is in their best financial interest to properly maintain the HVAC system of a home.
Check The Lease
With most landlord/tenant questions, it is essential to first check the property’s lease before making any decisions or taking actions. Leases can be different on a property-to-property basis. However, in most common lease verbiage, the responsibility falls on the landlord. Most often, landlords are responsible for HVAC maintenance, repairs, and replacements.
Additionally, in many states, landlords are also responsible for maintaining an HVAC system that can provide a comfortable living temperature. Depending on the lease, there is a chance that not every aspect of maintenance is for the landlord. Some of the most common repairs and maintenance may include the following:
If the thermostat is having issues, it can mean multiple things for the HVAC unit. The thermostat is responsible for regulating temperature. It sends signals to the air conditioner or heating units to turn on when the temperature drops below or rises above a certain level. If it is malfunctioning, it can be as simple as a low battery or require more in-depth troubleshooting.
When the batteries are weak in a thermostat, the heating and cooling system may not receive the signals when it is time for them to turn on. Replacing the batteries in a thermostat is an easy fix and can be done by the tenant, especially if they have the manual.
However, if the thermostat has a more significant issue like wiring or system malfunction, it is likely the landlord’s responsibility to replace or fix it.
Replacing the air filter in an HVAC system is part of regular maintenance. It is crucial for maintaining good air quality throughout the house, eliminating allergens, contaminants, or other debris, prolonging the unit’s lifespan, and increasing the unit’s efficiency.
Replace the air filter once every one to three months. This number varies depending on multiple variables such as pets, seasons, construction, etc. Air filters are often the responsibility of the tenant to buy and replace.
A well-kept HVAC system has regularly scheduled maintenance. It can include preventative HVAC maintenance and regular check-ups. Regular maintenance of air conditioning systems and furnaces can directly impact the lifespan of an HVAC system.
It is usually the responsibility of the landlord. However, depending on the agreement of the lease, the landlord and tenants can share this responsibility. Regularly scheduled maintenance can help to catch issues early and reduce the cost of large scale repairs.
HVAC Unit Repairs and Replacement
Extensive repairs and replacements will almost always be the responsibility of the property owner or landlord. Just as a homeowner needs to maintain the HVAC system to sell their house, a landlord needs to sustain it for rental income and eventually sell it in the future.
As mentioned previously, a well-working HVAC system means more than the comfort of your tenants.
While this is important, a well-working HVAC system can prevent mildew and mold damage. Additionally, keeping up with repairs can prolong the lifespan of the unit. When the time comes to replace the unit, this increases the house’s value for future renters or if choosing to sell the house.
Be Proactive About HVAC Repairs in a Rental
No matter how big or small the issue is, it is a good rule of thumb to be proactive. Handling any problems with a unit early on can prevent them from growing into more significant or more expensive issues.
As a tenant, it is essential to communicate with your landlord if you suspect a problem or if the system is not working as efficiently as it should. As a landlord, it is crucial to act quickly if a tenant brings something to your attention.
Properly maintaining an HVAC system is not only the most cost-effective option, but it is the responsible thing to do. As the tenant, a properly working HVAC unit will impact your health and energy consumption. It is in everyone’s best interest to monitor regularly and ensure that the system is working properly.