Charge tenants to have programmable thermostat installed?

6 Replies

My tenants in my Atlanta condo pay all the utilities. They recently asked me if I could have a programmable thermostat installed before the summer so that they do not have to come home to a hot apartment as they (understandably) do not want to run the A/C all day while at work. I didn't even think about asking them to pay for the unit but another landlord I was talking to said he would absolutely have them pay since the unit in the apartment works fine and a new unit will save them on utility costs. I'm inclined to pay for it myself since I'm all about energy efficiency and they are perfect tenants who I want to keep happy and hope they extend their lease. Are there any hard rules you follow in this situation or is it a case by case basis depending on the tenant?

Related to that, can anyone recommend a reliable handyman or company in Atlanta that installs programmable thermostats as I live in NY.


For the $25 I would just pay for it. If you are out of state I would see if they would install it. It isn't hard to do - takes about 10 minutes

Originally posted by @Brianna Schmidt:
For the $25 I would just pay for it. If you are out of state I would see if they would install it. It isn't hard to do - takes about 10 minutes

This definitely depends on the existing unit and the tenant's resourcefulness. I've installed them in ~10 minutes as you mention but have also had one with very old or incorrectly labeled wiring that took me multiple days of trying different combinations and tracing wires to ultimately get it going. I generally assume if a tenant is asking for something that I would consider simple they either don't want to pay for it or have no idea how to do it themselves. If it were just a $25 fix, then I'd lean towards they don't want to hassle or really would not be well suited to install themselves.

I'd recommend calling a local HVAC company and having them hook it up for the tenant.

If they are the ideal tenants, it would be more beneficial to replace it yourself and give them the comfort of having a great landlord long term. Also, it will still be there if they were to ever leave. You can look at it as a minor improvement to the unit.

Thanks all! I'm going to just have a local company install it. I don't know the tenant's technical knowledge and think it's best to just have it done the right way.

I agree with @Aaron ram if you have great tenants in place I would consider the new programmable thermostat a small improvement that stays when the tenant leaves. I did this to my rental and the tenant really liked that I had put it in for them and it was a great way to show the tenant you care. I have had that tenant in place for 3 years now.

@Matthew Lobacz You are making the right decision. Especially since the tenant asked and didn't just change things without your knowledge. I don't let our tenants do plumbing, electrical, or HVAC "improvements" on their own, as you never know what trouble it could cause. You are rewarding good tenants in a logical way. Nice landlord! You are not only buying an improvement to your property, you are banking positives in your relationship account too.

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