My Idea for HVAC Filter Changes with Tenants. Will it work?

10 Replies

I now know that tenants will not change air filters in their heating and cooling system. From reading the forums, I gather that most landlords here change the filters themselves because clearly you cannot depend on the tenant to protect your $4k investment.

The problem with this model is the time spent driving to the rental to do the swap. I sure as heck don't want to spend one day a month driving all over town replacing filters, and I don't want to pay somebody to do it either. There's got to be a better way!

My idea is to put in the lease that the there is a $25 charge every three months for air filter replacement. It will state this charge can be waived if the tenant uses one of our provided filters to change them self and text or email me a picture of the new one by the 1st of the month that quarter. Think it will work?

no it won't work. I think it's a great idea but everybody knows deep down this is one of the hardest problems to solve..its been hard for me too..

I think this is a great idea, except it would be hard to monitor the tenants actually doing what they say they did plus it might be worth not having them mess around with your 4K investment.

While not a solution for most, I loved the solution of the landlord of the duplex I rented before purchasing my house. He had the duplex built to his specs. In the rear center of the building was a mechanical room accessed from outside by him only, between the two units. The two air handlers were in there as well as extra paint and fixtures. He'd come change the filters once a month himself and never have to bother us. Nice duplexes are so rare near me I'd consider having one built, and this would definitely be a key feature.

I just leave a whole years supply worth with my renters. I don't normally have issues. I also get my units serviced once a year or so and they clean the coils. My guy let's me know if the renters are being bad about filter changes. If so I let them know. 

I have two homes that require filters - luckily, those two homes are managed by a property manager.  I have her replace them every quarter (includes air conditioning).  It's not often enough, but it's better than nothing.

The third rental doesn't require filter changes - it's a wall furnace with washable filters.  I hire a guy to come in once per year to check the furnace.

Quite frankly, quarterly is in line or more than I change the filter on the furnace in my own home....

@dalton the idea is i would hold them accountable with a picture they send me. If they dont send a picture by the 1st every quarter, i add a $25 charge in and head out there to replace it myself.

It still seems like a viable model to me...

@Allan Smith I’m not sure about your hvac system but the heating units we use here you can purchase 90 day filters so you can change them once every 3 months. Now I do mine more often and I have 9 doors within 3 blocks :)

But equally as important at the time of changing your filters is an opportunity to check on your units. Do you know how many landlords I end up buying their properties at a discount because they do not check on their units and they get destroyed. To me it is a benefit going often not a cost.

I completely agree with Eddie above @Eddie T.

I change filters every two months and check fire alarms every two months. and I stagger these so they are on different months so I am inside each unit every month. This allows me to see the inside of each unit every 30 days which i consider to be a tremendous value.

Now, I do understand that I am local so this is doable for me.

With your idea above, I think you will need to build in an incentive that will work for them. i would go with supplying a years worth of filters and have them placed inside the cabinet area where the furnace is located. Then I would offer a reduction of rent by say"20.00" that month if they will change the filter and supply you a video of the filter change taking place.

So rent is $750.00 they can pay $730.00 if they have sent you the video through email or text.

I would also send them out a reminder on each filter changing month letting them know it is filter month and that they can save $20.00 and I would also send an instruction video of how to change the filter with the reminder.

Do you wonder how many tenants will put the filter in with the arrow going the wrong way? Do you know how many people do not even know there is an arrow?

it could work in the right area. perhaps when you leave them with the filters, write a number or date on each one. when they send you a photo or video, you will know if that filter is the new on or an old one

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