Tenants want a pool heater

23 Replies

Hi! Would love some opinions. A tenant wants a pool heater. It costs maybe $5,000. I think it adds value to the property so I’m open to doing it but would you ask the tenant to split the cost?

I will find an easy way out providing a bubbling blanket using solar. $100.  Pools here do not add any value since the high cost of maintaining and stringent water allowance. All landlord fill the pools up with dirt right away before leasing them out.

Yes, I will ask for 50-50 or let them use a blanket to warm the water. 

At least split it. I assume if they said they wanted a $5,000 refrigerator, It would add something to the value of your property, but I still assume you wouldn’t go out and buy them one. 

@Connie Chan

How much value will it add? I would tell them you are open to the idea and ask what their proposal is. I believe a friend of mine had solar pool heaters that floated on top of the water. Would those work?

If it’s a gas pool heater and they use it, it will add hundreds of dollars per month in natural gas usage.  Not worthwhile unless you are using the pool heater to heat a hot tub.  

I would definitely NOT comply with that request. I want a live in nanny or house keeper but I never asked my landlord for that. The pool heater adds no value to the property well at least here in NJ it does not. I know this because I am a real estate appraiser and investor :)

I've had a similar occurrence. The pool pump died and at the time I didn't have the money to replace it I had two tenants in particular that felt that their rent was paying for their access to the pool, which it most certain is NOT. My lease clearly states that the "Pool is a Luxury, not a Right". I personally pay for the pool since my son lives on the property he enjoys using the pool and if I was to convert the MF back to a SFH the pool would add value. You are already paying for the pool maintenance, electric to run the filter, and any other costs associated with the pool, I would NOT pay to also heat the pool. I would frankly be a little offended if my tenants, that I pay for the pool, now wanted it heated. Plus my son has told me on more than one occasion that he is the only one that uses the pool, that the tenants are rarely in the pool. Tenants having a pool is a HUGE Luxury, I know of no other rentals in my area that have a pool, and just having access to a pool they should be happy with that. Having a pool is for Single Family homes not rentals, I would make sure that your tenants know that. If having a pool isn't enough I would tell them that "I've been considering filling it in, since the costs are so high" I guarantee that will sweeten their attitudes up in a hurry.

@Connie Chan - Tenants want a pool heater?? Nope..I'm sure they would want you to buy floats, goggles and pool toys too.  Putting in a pool heater is like running a boiler in the summertime and its expensive.  The heater does not add value to the home. Most of the time, these heaters were put in during the new pool construction phase and when they see the gas/electric bill they don't use it or only use it on occasion.  

If anything buy a solar cover.  Solar covers do work.  FYI: If you do buy a solar cover, remember to not lay it on the grass because the grass will burn in an about an hour. 

I think there is too little information for a blanket "No". If the place is cash flowing $4,000 a month and they keep it beautiful and have been there 3 years.... Meh... Possibly. If it is also in a place that gets pool usage most of the year and an A+ neighborhood, I can see an interest. Now if it is cashflowing $300 a month in Upstate NY where you get 2 maybe 3 if you push it months of usage, then no. 

@Connie Chan

That has to be one of the best tenant requests I’ve ever heard. A new front door, a new stove, if they’ve been a good tenant, absolutely. $5000 pool heater, ummm no. Not even worth a thought.

@Connie Chan I agree with everyone else to not comply. I have a Bay Area home with a pool heater and I continuously contemplate filling in the pool every year. Neither the heater nor the pool adds value to the home - it’s a liability.

I grew up in CA and had a pool with a gas heater.  We never used it because it cost so much. Once your renters get the gas bill they will not use it either. 

We did buy the solar heater that runs the water through a piping system and has solar panels.  That too cost for the pump to keep running the water through the piping system set against the block wall. So it rarely got used.

Lastly when the bubble wrap like floating solar heaters came out, we got one of those.  It worked fine, but you had to put is somewhere when the pool was in use, and with a lawn, kids, etc. no where was safe from some guest walking or jumping on it.  They lasted at best 2 years.  And if left on the grass killed the lawn pretty fast.

As we grew up and grandkids came alone my parents bought a safety pool cover for the pool.  It sealed around the edges and mechanically on rollers, rolled up when the pool was in use.  Surprisingly it kept the pool warmer in the winter and kept the rain and leaves from getting in.

If I were you, maybe buy a safety pool cover, or let them buy the bubble wrap stuff, but tell then where to put it when not on the pool.  It is cheap and disposable--does not last more than a year or two, at least in CA.

Unless you have a jacuzzi, there is no need for an actual pool heater when you have other options.   1.  A pool cover that they can put on /off really retains the heat well and adds a month and beginning and end of usable time. 

2. Get solar for the pool (Not regular solar)  Its the tubes that go on the roof and pump up water, suns heats the water adn then jets back into the pool   Super efficient.  Less chance of anything breaking and doesn't crank up their electric $$$. 

@Connie Chan

No on the pool heater. Let’s say split the cost of it. Then 6 months later it needs to be repaired.... the tenant will expect you to pay for what they broke.

Also sets a bad precedent for when they say, My kids want a treehouse.... let’s split the cost?

If you fear the tenant will hold animosity toward you for not getting the pool heater then they shouldn’t be there in the first place. 

@Connie Chan we had a pool at our last house and used a solar blanket $150. That pool heated up quick and hot. Our friends got the pool heater and used it once after they got their $400 gas bill. They ended up with a solar blanket. My opinion is it’s not worth it at all. They last about 5 years and need repairs, it’s is a money pit all around.

@Connie Chan

I have a pool at my personal residence and it had a heater that was there when we moved in. I’ve used that heater maybe 6 times in 7 seasons. Very expensive to run.

I bought bubble cover and it not only heats the pool but also stops evaporation which reduces the water bill.

No to heater, yes to solar bubble cover.

@Connie Chan too many variables to say either way. Its possible that I would leverage it into having them stay longer or you getting a gift essentially. I.e. If you pay for the installation and maintenance (assuming they already pay utilities) then I will knock $100/month off the rent for 50 months.

Originally posted by @Mike Cumbie :

I think there is too little information for a blanket "No". If the place is cash flowing $4,000 a month and they keep it beautiful and have been there 3 years.... Meh... Possibly. If it is also in a place that gets pool usage most of the year and an A+ neighborhood, I can see an interest. Now if it is cashflowing $300 a month in Upstate NY where you get 2 maybe 3 if you push it months of usage, then no. 

Couldn't have said it any better. Since you are a So Cal/Nor Cal investor, I'm guessing this property with a swimming pool is somewhere along the high end spectrum. I've done things for some of my tenants here in Los Angeles that I'm sure would be highly disapproved of by the well-intentioned folks here on BP. But if they are good tenants that are paying a lot of money and don't have a history of always asking for things, I don't think it would hurt to work something out.

Thank you everyone for the input! I’ll let them know that the gas cost for heating is really high. It may make them rethink having one. Also the solar cover is a terrific idea. My pool isn’t rectangular shaped so I wasn’t sure if feasible but it sounds like it can still work and will save both me and the tenant a lot of money!