Tenant claimed they changed the furnace filter every 30 days...not!

17 Replies

I had a tenant vacate the other day and while doing the walk through they stated "oh yeah, we change the filter every 30 days"...so I opened up the return and this what the filter looked like:

What amazed me was after I showed them the filter they still insisted they changed it every month....unbelievable....

LOL

funny how they will lie straight to your face and not even think twice about it and still insist  they are right and you are wrong.

Good reason to inspect the property every so often.  I have not done that in the past, but plan to do so going forward.  Just this week I sent an email to my tenants that I would be starting inspections.

I try to get my handyman or myself into every rental twice a year to change filters and check for any problems.  It has alerted me problems in the past.

I'll agree, that is is a horrific looking filter, but let's be honest, how often do we change our OWN filters?  It's not every month for me, that's for sure!

Sadly, the only sure way you have of making sure the filter gets changed on a regular basis in a rental is to do it yourself.  I've gone so far as to leave tenants with lots of spare filters so it would only take them 30-60 seconds of work and it still didn't get done.  

I actually change mine every month, but living with a cat lady and young cat lady in training it really probably needs changing more often. ;)

I can't remember where I saw the idea, but I am thinking about providing monthly filter changes and maintenance checks as a "service" for my tenants.  Two pronged approach the extending HVAC life and also a chance to get a quick look at the property.  Since all my current properties are within five miles of me it wouldn't be much of an issue time wise.

i change mine frequently too.  but i include a furnace cleaning fee in the lease as well.  states that when they move or if any time during occupancy the furnace ie. needs cleaning or stops working due to being dirty they pay.  or we deduct from deposit....   works great

A filter change and water heater inspection every 90 days does get you into a Property. My Father just got a SFH that had the same renter in it for over two years. The renter said that he had no pets when he moved in. Since my Father had moved out of state when he got remarried, he did not inspect the property on a regular basis. Of course, they did end up getting 2 larger dogs that they did not let out or walk very often. The wife was very sick and recently passed away. They were away for days at a time while the wife was at the hospital. The person that bought the property told my Dad that the carpets looked clean but if the house was closed up for over 4 hours, the stench of dog urine was very bad. The new owner had to tear out all of the carpet, pad, and put kilz down on all of the floors to get rid of the smell. At least dogs do not spray the walls like cats sometimes do, or do they?

I'm new to the game and in the process of rehabbing my first rental property, but I already plan that it will be stated in the contract that I must be allowed in once every three months to check the filters, and anything else I can check while I'm in there, especially since I've just installed a brand new furnace and water heater.  This is an opportunity to see what's really going on in the rental.   My furnace guy wants it changed every month, but we all know that's not gonna happen, but I would NEVER RELY ON THE TENANT to change even a light bulb, let alone a furnace filter.

@Bill Sargeson  

Nice! Be glad that they vacated and you were able to swap it out before it  messed up the HVAC system. That filter looks like it has a year's worth of dust on it. Every 30 days..that's funny.

@Robert Williams described my experience.  Leave filters there and it just saves you from having to bring them when you change them.  Tenants just do not change them.  However frequently you want them changed, plan your (or your handyman) visits to the property.

I send e-mail blasts about 4 times a year.  I always mention filters.  My e-mails are usually "seasonal".  Ex. summer is coming.  Check your cac.  Or winter is coming, get the gutters cleaned and shut-off outside hose bibs, etc.  I also ask them to alert me of any repair issues/concerns.  I try to do actual inspection 2x per year - more, if I suspect a tenant situation needs my attention.

@Michael Jobe  , yes I was lucky it didn't mess up the system...the weird thing is the rest of the house was spotless and move in ready.

I have also bought packs of filters and set the right next to the furnace.  Id take one out of new pack and put it in.  Then in a couple instances, Id go back 6-12 months later, and theres the new pack still sitting there with only still one taken out of it.  Amazing.

Originally posted by @Andrew S. :

I'll agree, that is is a horrific looking filter, but let's be honest, how often do we change our OWN filters?  It's not every month for me, that's for sure!

When the timer on the thermostat tells me to. It is usually determined by a set number of running hours.

Originally posted by @Paul Ewing :

I actually change mine every month, but living with a cat lady and young cat lady in training it really probably needs changing more often. ;)

I can't remember where I saw the idea, but I am thinking about providing monthly filter changes and maintenance checks as a "service" for my tenants.  Two pronged approach the extending HVAC life and also a chance to get a quick look at the property.  Since all my current properties are within five miles of me it wouldn't be much of an issue time wise.

 I would love to know how you would go about doing this. The furnace filter for my rental is in the crawl space and the tenant would never go under the house to change the filter.

I always write on the side of the filter(s) with a Sharpie to help me remember when I installed them. Maybe a good way to help in verifying your tenants are replacing them as well?

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