I'll probably be the minority here, but I would give them a slight reduction in rent or subsidize their electric bill. You did everything you could/were supposed to, but I feel having a little compassion can go a long way. I assume they are good tenants. Not sure what their rent is, but if you can afford a couple hundred off their rent for one month, or split it between a couple months to make it less of a burden on you, I'm sure it would be appreciated by them. I know this is a business to make money, but if they were to move out or you had to evict because they can't afford the increased electric bill and the rent, then you'd be out even more money with vacancy and turnover costs.
How long have they been your tenants? do they always pay on time and you have no issues with them? giving credit my go into a bad road depending on the type of people your tenants are as they might expect it again down the road. if they are great tenants, never bother for the small stuff and you want to keep them, I would give them a small reduction on rent to help them off set the electricity bill. Living with no A.C in the summer is brutal but think of all the outcomes before you provide a credit.
I agree that a rent reduction goes into dangerous territory. Offer to pay the electric bill for a couple months if you are feeling generous.
As you are probably aware, AC on and off for 5 weeks is pretty extreme and I think you should definitely spend some time in the next couple months to beef up your vendor/tradesmen database. Clearly at least 3 of those HVAC technicians aren't great. I try to fix HVAC problems in 24 - 48 hours so they can have a comfortable home at minimal extra cost to me.
No, Rent rebates/reductions is a business practise you do not want to set a presidency on with these tenants. It opens the door to them asking for a rent reduction every time there is any slight inconvenience. Thank them for their patients and leave it at that.
As for the electric bill you went out of your way and spend beyond a necessary amount to insure their comfort. It was their decision to use the window AC units. Leave it at that.
I like the idea of a gift card to a local market or a nice restaurant for a dinner out. Shows you care, but doesn't set a bad precedent.
I wouldn't do it. The rent is what the rent is. I don't know where your rental is but no AC makes a house uncomfortable but not unlivable. That's different from a massive flood or a fire. I'm not sure the electric bill would be higher, as central heat & air is usually more energy consumptive than a window unit.
I suspect you're suffering from a bit of guilty conscience, which is probably warranted as it shouldn't take 5 weeks and 4 techs to fix an AC unit. There's not that many moving parts there. As for the tenants, not having AC doesn't mean you have to eat out. I can't see that they should be struggling to pay rent because they had to eat a few meals out and sleep on mom's couch.
Your lesson here is to have competent technicians and to replace junk when it becomes junk. If you give them a rent reduction, they're going to expect it the next time the junky AC system blows up (which is probably not too far off if you had to have people out that many times).
I have done rent reductions for things like that in the past but it depends on the situation. You say they are struggling to pay rent, then it may be a deeper issue than the AC problem. When I gave a rent reduction it was to a tenant that had been with me for a couple years and never had a late payment before or since. Just depends but like a lot of people have said, this is a business and as much as I hate saying it, we landlords need the tenants to make the investments work so you gotta have a little compassion without getting walked all over.
I don't feel that rent concessions are appropriate due to maintenance issues but five weeks is a game changer. I imagine that time period was miserable for both you and the residents.
Did you do everything humanly possible to get the HVAC system dealt with as quickly as possible? Do a good job communicating when there were issues out of your control that delayed it?
If so, you have ZERO to feel guilty about...... stuff happens in life....get over it. If they owned the place, would they get a discount on their mortgage that month? Did you ?
At best, I would send them a gift card in appreciation for their patience with the issue taking so long
Do not apologize...... say 'I appreciate your patience with this taking so long...here's a $50-100 gift card to take the family out to dinner...thank you for your understanding". Apologies shift blame to you
Yes this business can be built off customer service and good tenant relationships.... treat people with respect and dignity....don't be an a-hole. But don't concede control in the process of doing that...
DO NOT GIVE A RENT DISCOUNT...... this will only give them leverage to try and squeeze in other things that may generate a reduction in rent. The rent is the rent....no exceptions..... any other costs are outside of rent..period