Property Management - Furnace filter replacement

4 Replies

Hi everyone, 

My name is Nate Broekhuizen and I just started as a Property Manager a few months ago and currently manage about 40 units. Consisting of single family, duplexes, and two fourplexes. The previous Property Manager would reach out to all the tenants for them to change the filter furnaces. It is stated in our lease that the "tenant agrees to replace furnace filters as needed in the rental property at tenants expense". If I ask the tenants to replace the furnace filters I feel like many of them will forget or just not do it. We do an annual inspection of each property in Jan or Feb so I am just wondering if I should reach out to each of the tenants and ask them to replace the filter furnaces and let them know that I will be inspecting the unit and making sure that the filter was in fact replaced. On the other hand, I could ask them for the filter size and change them out myself when I do the property inspections and charge their account. Let me know your thoughts! Thanks! 

I would build this into the rent somehow and make it part of your management company's maintenance routine.  

This may be easier for the single families to ask the resident to handle it, but for the multifams it definitely makes more sense to have a professional you trust handle it. You should qualify for a bulk discount as well.

Not worth having to make a phone call to an owner that the furnace needs to be replaced because the resident forgot to change the filter.

Here in Connecticut where winters are brutal this is even more important.

Once a year is not often enough for filters. 

I have single-family homes and virtually no tenants have ever been good about changing filters. It's one of those gnawing things that I just don't get, but tenants don't change filters. We require it but I'm realistic that they don't do it unless someone reminds them. I think we are going to change models this year and build the filter costs into rent and just do it ourselves as an administrative expense. We can have a handyman spend a day once per month/two months and do them all in a day. 

Like @Craig Bellot said, find a way to bill this into the monthly rent. Especially when you have multis. On my singles I still hire it out. Tenants are not qualified to handle HVAC, this is a bad habit from the previous property manager. 

One way is to find the cost to replace filter, divide it by 12 months, add that on top of your annual rent increase. If the tenants are concerned just explain to them that you want to keep the furnaces running properly and efficiently so you can save them money on their oil costs. 

Plus when you manage 40 units, it is easier to hire the specialized trades out, even something as easy as replacing a filter. Also ask your oil provider to see if they offer a filter change before they fill the tank for additional cost? That way you're not paying your HVAC tech an hourly rate OR have it done when you schedule the annual furnace cleaning. 

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here