Should You Provide Tenants with Window Air Conditioner Units in Your Nevada Rental?
Reviewed By: Pete Evering
2023 has been the hottest year on record, with countries all over the world reporting unusually high temperatures. It’s been a particularly hot and sweaty summer in Reno, where the city’s highest ever temperature was recorded on July 16th. That’s 108 degrees Fahrenheit, or 42 degrees Celsius for you metric system fans. One thing we can all agree on is this: that’s a little too hot, and not exactly comfortable. In fact, it can even be dangerous for people.
As a landlord, you’re responsible for maintaining a habitable living environment for your tenants, and many would argue that a habitable living environment is one with air conditioning, but there are different ways this can be interpreted and different variables that should affect your decision to provide and maintain an air conditioning system.
Many states and municipalities require air conditioning units to be installed in rentals, especially in areas with warmer climates. Even Los Angeles is considering mandating air conditioning units in all rentals within the city. This isn’t the case everywhere, however.
The state of Nevada does not legally require that the owner of a rental property provide an air conditioning system for the tenants of a property that lacks a central HVAC system, nor does the City of Reno have or enforce any city ordinance regarding the provision of an air conditioner or air conditioning system. If you don’t want to provide air conditioning, you have no legal obligation to do so.
Why You May Not Want to Provide an AC Unit
An air condition unit is an expense, and as the owner of an investment property, it’s your job to limit expenses wherever possible. Even the relatively small upfront expense of a window air conditioner unit, which can cost as little as $200, can hurt your bottom line.
Providing an AC system at all, whether it’s a central HVAC system or window mounted unit, also opens you up to the persistent expense of maintenance. By making a tenant responsible for their own air conditioning, you are also passing to them the responsibility of upkeep and repair in the event that something goes wrong.
Often, a tenant will actually prefer to choose their own air conditioner, or even use alternative methods of keeping their home cool. A tenant might prefer a freestanding air conditioner, or a window mounted box fan or standing fan to keep energy costs down. Speaking of energy costs, if you are including electricity in the monthly rental fee, including an air conditioner may encourage greater energy usage, resulting in a bigger bill for you.
Why You Should Probably Consider Providing an AC Unit
While it may seem like your best course is to skip the AC, remember that many rentals do come with window units preinstalled. There are actually a number of reasons to consider equipping your rental units with window air conditioners.
In a hot state like Nevada, a rental unit with air conditioning will always look more appealing than a unit with none, especially to a thrifty renter. If your rentals are targeted at lower earning tenants, an included window AC will be particularly attractive and prevent you from having to sit on an unoccupied tenant. And if you notice that most rentals in your area don’t feature included AC units, it may be a good idea to stand out from the crowd.
If the terms of your rental’s lease include electricity with rent, then providing an AC may even be a better idea than not providing one. That’s because window air conditioner units vary wildly in terms of energy efficiency. If your tenant purchases their own AC, you may be saving a few hundred on upfront costs, but the long hot season will lead to higher energy costs on your end.
Including an energy efficient air conditioner may save you money in the long run if you have agreed to pay the electricity costs of tenants.
Always remember that even if a window AC unit may contribute to increased maintenance and repair costs, you don’t have to be the one providing those services. You can rely on thorough and cost-effective maintenance performed by a dedicated and trustworthy property management service.