Air conditioning is practically a requirement in every home in the United States, and if you own rental properties, this maxim is even more strict.
If you don’t provide adequate HVAC systems for the neighborhood and the clime, you won’t be able to compete with the market and means you’ll have a lot of tenant turnover.
If you live in a hot or cold area, it’s also bad for the property itself.
There’s a lot of you need to know about your properties current HVAC situation, even if (and sometimes especially if) you haven’t purchased it yet.
A good AC technician or inspector can tell you if you need to replace the system and what repairs should be made immediately, but any initial evaluation of the house’s air conditioning has limited value.
Here are three numbers you need to have up-to-date knowledge on when it comes to a rental property’s HVAC.
1. How much do you need to raise the rent to cover the price of a new air conditioning unit?
Air conditioning is expensive.
Everything from peak usage costs to maintenance and repairs costs money.
Costly surprises interrupt your cash flow and can delay your plans to buy another property or add improvements to your current units.
While that cost will come out of your rental business’s revenue, it shouldn’t be an unexpected expense.
There are a lot of different ways to plan for sudden breakdowns and the day you need to buy a house a new air conditioning unit.
Having cash set aside for emergencies is part of that, and it can get you over the hump of an unplanned, pricey month.
But the property with the new unit needs to pay your emergency fund back, and the best way to do this is to raise the price.
Rental investors usually recommend at least a five percent price increase the next time you can raise the rent. Usually, this will be during tenant turnover or when you’re renewing a current tenant’s lease.
2. How long do the warranties last?
Most private owners don’t keep track of their appliance and service warranties.
But when you’re running a business with multiple HVAC units across multiple properties, every percentage matters, so it’s essential to keep track of the numbers on both your air conditioning unit and the servicing.
The manufacturer’s warranty will have some key exceptions, but it also brings a lot of value.
Read the fine print and make sure to give it a glance the next time a tenant’s air conditioning is malfunctioning.
Usually, the parts are covered for between five and ten years, and that’s a large chunk of your unit’s lifespan.
Service warranties are shorter, but they can be just as important, so look into the length of your preferred company’s service warranties and see what the conditions are.
If the terms require annual servicing (and most do), then that means the company provides long-term annual servicing.
We recommend that you try to automate this process if you can, especially if you are your own property manager.
3. When was the filter last changed?
An unchanged air filter causes the most damage to A/C.
It makes the system work harder to blow past the clogged filter, and that causes a lot of mechanical problems down the line.
But your tenants probably aren’t going to change the filter, even if there’s a requirement in the lease agreement.
So make sure you know when the filter was last changed by writing the change date on the edge of the filter.
This also helps you find out if the tenant really is changing the filter, and gives you more ground for charging the tenant for necessary repairs.
These three numbers are not the full story of what you need to know about your properties’ air conditioning units, but they’re essential,and a good start.