Who Is Responsible for a Rental Home’s Furnace?

Who Is Responsible for a Rental Home’s Furnace?

Tenants and landlords both have vested interests in heating systems in rental properties. However, each party might expect the other to repair a broken furnace or take care of regular maintenance. Below are some top factors that determine who is responsible for a rental property’s furnace.

Level of Expertise

In many cases, the level of expertise you need to fix the problem determines who should shoulder the responsibility. The tenant can take care of routine issues that don’t require professional skills. The landlord should take care of technical furnace problems by hiring a professional.

For example, the tenant can:

  • Replace the air filter
  • Change the thermostat batteries Clear dust from the system
  • On the other hand, the landlord should pay for:
  • Refrigerant leak repairs
  • Combustion problem repairs Condenser coil replacement

Many tenants routinely take care of minor issues without involving their landlords.

Cost of Service

Furnace-repair costs range from less than a hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. Many tenants are willing to pay for minor issues but expect their landlords to pay for expensive repairs.

For example, a tenant may expect their landlord to pay for condenser and evaporator coil replacement. The service can cost thousands of dollars, depending on the furnace. On the other hand, many landlords expect their tenants to pay for flame sensor replacement, which might cost as little as $75.

Cause of Damage

The cause of the damage that has necessitated the repair also matters. Landlords and tenants have responsibilities to each other. For example, the landlord has the responsibility of providing a habitable place for their tenant while the tenant has the responsibility of taking care of the landlord’s property.

As such, a tenant who damages the furnace should pay for the repairs. Say a tenant damages a refrigerant line during a renovation project. The tenant should pay for the repair of the leak and refrigerant recharge.

Installer of the Furnace

Many landlords provide their tenants with heat. Such landlords often maintain and repair the heating systems to ensure the tenants continue to live in comfortable surroundings. However, there are also rental properties without heat or with inadequate heating. If a tenant installs a furnace in such a house, they are entirely responsible for servicing and repairing the furnace.

Number of Tenants the Furnace Serves

A single heating system can serve multiple households in a multi-dwelling rental property. Such a setup is usually cheaper than installing a furnace in every house. Landlords usually place such furnaces in neutral locations that don’t belong to any tenant. In such a case, the landlord usually shoulders all the responsibilities of keeping the furnace running.

However, in the case of single-unit rental properties, tenants usually provide some care for heating systems.

Lease Agreement

A good lease agreement will detail tenant and landlord responsibilities. Lease agreements handle the issue in different ways. For example, the agreement may require:

  • The tenant to share the furnace care with the landlord
  • The landlord to bear sole responsibility for furnace repairs
  • The tenant to bear sole responsibility for the furnace

The lease agreement should be clear enough to avoid confusion in cases of shared responsibilities. In many cases, the applicable law in the jurisdiction also comes into play and defines tenant and landlord responsibilities. In such cases, tenants and landlords have no option but to follow the demands of the lease agreement and law.

Whether you are a tenant or a property owner, Baton Rouge Air Conditioning and Heating can help you service or repair your heating system. We can take care of minor services, major repairs, and system installations. Contact us for a quote on any heating services you need.

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