Living in a comfortable and attractive rental property is one of the top priorities for quality tenants. Among a host of other things, that means living in a home that is warm during the cold season and cool during the hot season. That said, who between you and your tenant is responsible for the HVAC maintenance? This is the question that this post will try to answer today. So, buckle up and enjoy the read!
What does the law say about HVAC maintenance?
First and foremost, the landlord-tenant law doesn’t compel any landlord to provide air conditioning to their tenants, explains Alltrade Property Management. Air conditioning, in most jurisdictions, is considered an amenity rather than a requirement.
Even the Implied Warranty of Habitability doesn’t include it as a requirement. It only states that a landlord should generally provide a unit that is fit for habitation.
What does the Implied Warranty of Habitability require from landlords?
As a landlord, you are required to keep your rental premises livable – a legal doctrine called the “implied warranty of habitability” will state this. This stems from state statutes and local building codes; this implied warranty specifies minimum requirements for essential services like plumbing, water, and heat.
You should check with your state laws to know what requirements you are expected to meet under the implied warranty of habitability.
If you fail to provide a habitable property, you could find yourself in a legal bind. Your tenant could sue you for a rent reduction. They could also withhold paying rent until you make the needed repairs.
Another option your tenant may have is to make the necessary repairs themselves and then subtract reasonable repair costs from the rent.
What does HVAC Maintenance Entail?
According to most experts, HVAC maintenance should be done twice per year to ensure it runs as optimally as possible. What’s more, it should be done by a licensed and experienced professional.
The following are some crucial items that every HVAC maintenance should include:
- Air filter replacement – Air filters help maintain airflow and air quality. They should be replaced at least once a month and replaced if they are dirty. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Fan assessment – Like any motor, an air conditioner fan motor can become overheated if it overworks and doesn’t get proper maintenance.
- Outdoor unit inspection – The area around the outdoor HVAC unit should be free from any dirt and debris.
- General operation assessment – A technician should confirm that the system is running and shutting off as it should.
- Condensate drain extermination – When the condensate line becomes clogged, the moisture will not drain properly. A proper inspection will ensure it is free from any obstructions or clogging.
- Lubrication – A well-lubricated system will help you save energy by reducing resistance.
- Electrical connection check – An inspection specialist should ensure that all connections are snug and that the voltage and current readings reflect this.
- Thermostat setting assessment – The right settings will ensure the occupants enjoy the space while at home and change to conserve power when not at home.
How do you hire an HVAC maintenance specialist?
Easy! Start by asking the right questions when interviewing them.
- Do you offer refunds, warranties, or guarantees?
- What’s your estimated completion date?
- How soon can you get to me?
- Will you visit my home?
- What are your rates?
- Can you provide references?
- What experience do you have?
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Will you handle the clean-up in the areas you work in?
- Are there rebates or tax credits I can make use of?
- Do you offer financing options?
- How will the new unit affect my electricity bill?
- Do you handle any permits that are needed by the city?
- How long has your company been operating?
You should hire one, depending on how well they have answered these questions.
Landlord or Tenant – Who’s responsible?
The responsibility for HVAC maintenance and repairs depends on the cause of the damage. The tenant becomes responsible if damage occurs to the unit as a result of their negligence or carelessness.
You, on the other hand, become responsible for things your tenant has no control of—for example, normal wear and tear.
Knowing who is responsible for HVAC service and maintenance can help prevent many conflicts with your tenant. If you have any questions, contact us and we’d be happy to help!