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You have to honor the lease amount for the length of the lease. Unless you are getting a great deal on the central AC, it might be best to delay until Spring at the earliest. If you are close to the end of leases - you could use the improvement as justification for an increase and an incentive to renew.
I think that the only way you could raise the rent mid-lease would be to have the tenants approve of it for the upgrade.
@Scott Dougherty Like said above you got to honor the leases as agreed upon. However, when it comes time to renew you could use the new AC as a bargaining chip to get your tenants to renew the lease. If they plan on renewing they get the convenience of new AC if not you can install the system during your vacancy and your new tenants can just sign a lease for a higher rent (for the AC upgrade) assuming your market commands it.
IDK what how big your units are or the building but if they are small enough and space is limited you might consider a Mitsubishi split. They are becoming a lot more popular.
i'd be pissed if my rent was raised midway regardless of the capital expense the landlord had to incur.
unless of course, it was my request for stuff like "satellite dish, another fridge, etc, etc".
Ask the tenants to agree to it in exchange for the upgrade. If the do, great! Go ahead and re-write your lease. If they don't, go ahead and do it anyway and raise the rent with proper notice at lease renewal time.
You cannot raise the rent during the lease. End of story.
I would put it in the tenant's court. I would tell them what I wanted to do, but that I would need additional rent funds, and would they rather stay as things are until end of lease at which time you will be installing the units, or would they rather sign a new lease and have the upgrade now? If you are going to do it regardless, might as well give them the opportunity to enjoy the upgrade early and get some funds ( and a new lease ) besides.
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