I just received the results from the occupancy inspection of my triplex in Houston. The most significant issue noted is a requirement that "...heating facilities capable of maintaining a room temperature of 70 degrees..." be provided. The triplex was built in 1963 without air conditioning or heating. Since then window units have been supplied by the tenenats. Each unit has 2 bedrooms and is 700 SF in size. Standalone heaters are not an option. I'm looking for advice on how others have met this requirement in Houston. I see only two real options: upgrade to central air and heat or provide multiple heating/cooling windows units per apartment. Both are expensive and the latter is a theft/maintenance headache. Any other suggestions?
Electric heat elements. Probably the least expensive option you'll find.
I've actually been curious about this. I don't own any property (yet) but I drive by several multifamily buildings on my way home from work and notice many of them only have window units. Why is that? Is central air conditioning for each unit not a viable option (like in apartment complexes)? Or is it just a "that's how it's always been" thing?
@Michael Lovell Thanks, I assume you mean baseboard heating? Would that likely run at least $1k a unit considering materials and installation (including additional circuits) in 4 rooms? My concern with a heating only solution is I don't believe in Houston there will be any possibility of return on the investment. If I provide cooling, I can raise the rents by at least 15% to 20% to recover the cost. There would be no such payback on heating only.
@Josue Guzman My view is it is a cost vs. return question. Today, my units rent for $500/mo with the tenant providing their own heat/cooling. I don't worry about theft or repairs. Adding central A/C with heat will likely run $5k to $6k a unit. Rents will increase but I would rather invest the money into a additional property.
Doesn't sounds like the cheapest option (do nothing) is really available here, so unless you plan on selling the property in the near future, it may well be worth the investment to put in central heat/air. If you can get 20% higher rent, it'll take 4-5 years to fully recover the investment but other upsides might be a better tenant pool? Also depends on what shape the rest of the property is in, of course.
I'd do the upgrade if at all possible - I can't fathom living in Houston without central air....
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