Both landlords and tenants have a role to play when it comes to maintaining their rental homes. Broadly speaking, the landlord-tenant law stipulates what every party to the lease is responsible for.
Some of the landlord’s maintenance responsibilities include performing repairs, maintaining all common areas, following all construction codes, providing running water, offering sufficient trash receptacles, and ensure all vital services are functioning properly.
Tenants, on the other hand, also have a role to play when it comes to maintaining the property. They are obligated to keep the rental premises clean and safe, dispose of waste, fix things they break and use facilities and systems provided properly.
Of course, these are general requirements. Specific ones can differ by state.
But who exactly between the landlord and the tenant is responsible for the HVAC system and maintenance? Before answering this important question, there are a couple of things that we need to consider.
As a landlord, no law compels you to provide air conditioning to your tenants. Most jurisdictions consider it an amenity as opposed to a basic requirement. That said, the law is clear on what kind of rental conditions you should provide.
According to the nationwide Warranty of Habitability law, it’s your responsibility to keep your property livable. But what exactly is a “livable” property? Well, basically, almost every state has laws that compel landlords to provide living conditions that meet basic safety and health standards.
While laws vary state by state, the following are some of the conditions that constitute livable standards.
- Cleanliness: As a landlord, you have to handle issues that make a home unsanitary. For instance, by doing things like exterminating pests and providing adequate trash receptacles.
- Electricity: You have to provide functioning electricity that is in good working order.
- Heating: Just like electricity, you should provide a rental that has a functioning heating system.
- Water: Many states require landlords to provide their tenants with both hot and cold running water.
- Plumbing and gas facilities: You must first meet any local requirements that guide their
installation. Your rental must also have a sewage disposal system that meets all local codes.
- Structural soundness: Your rental property must also be weatherproof and waterproof. It
shouldn’t also have any broken doors or windows.
If you fail to provide a rental that meets these basic requirements, there could be several repercussions. Your tenant could sue you, withhold paying rent or terminate the lease agreement altogether.
Who is Responsible for Servicing and Maintaining the HVAC System?
So, who is responsible for doing this? Is it you or your tenant? The responsibility for who is responsible for maintenance and repair depends on the cause of the damage. You become responsible for things that are beyond your tenants, such as normal wear and tear.
Your tenant, on the other hand, becomes responsible when the damage results from their carelessness or negligence.
HVAC maintenance involves doing several things. They include:
- Replacing the air filter . Air filters are crucial in maintaining the overall air quality. Most experts agree that they should be replaced once every month.
- Assessing the fan. An air conditioning fan motor, like any motor, can become overheated if overworked and if it isn’t properly maintained.
- Inspecting the outdoor unit. The area surrounding the outdoor unit should be free from dirt and debris.
- Assessing the overall working of the unit. Every once in a while, have a technician assess the unit to confirm that it’s working as it should.
- Inspecting any clogging or obstructions on the condensate line. A clogged condensate line won’t drain moisture properly.
- Lubricating the system. There is a direct relationship between the amount of energy they consume and the quality of the lubrication on the fans, bearings, and shafts. When the lubrication is insufficient, there is more friction. More friction equals more energy.
- Assessing the thermostat settings. The right settings will ensure optimum cooling as well as efficient results from your unit.
This should be done at least twice per month to ensure it runs as optimally as possible.
Hiring an HVAC Maintenance Specialist
As with other professions, no two HVAC specialists are created the same. There are certain things you want to look for when looking to hire an HVAC specialist. The following questions should help you get started.
- Can you provide references?
- Are you insured and have the necessary certifications?
- Do you offer any sort of work guarantees or warranties on the repair?
- Are you experienced with the brand or type of system I have?
- How often should I have my HVAC system serviced?
- How many technicians do you have on your staff?
- How long have you been doing this?
There you have it. Everything you need to know about who is responsible for HVAC service and maintenance. If you have more questions or need some clarifications, please consider hiring professional services.
Thank you to Eagle Property Management for writing this very informative post for us!