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Tip #91: Brrrrr!

landlord helpNow that winter is in full force, landlords need to be aware that many cities regulate the heat in rental properties.  It is a landlord’s responsibility to make certain that the heating system is up to standards and keeps the rental unit at the required temperature — usually around 68 degrees during the day.

If the heat drops in Trenton, tenants are encouraged to contact a local hotline directed to the city’s code enforcement office.  In San Francisco, landlords can be fined daily until the situation is resolved.

And it’s not just cold weather cities that enforce these rules – Florida has them, too.

Make sure your tenant can contact you first to resolve heating issues.  Respond right away if the tenant calls.  This way you maintain control over repairs, and avoid costly building inspections or fines.

Research any local ordinances that govern heat in rental units to find out what you are required to do.

Avoid problems by having the furnace inspected and repaired routinely, preferably during the summer months.  This also helps build a relationship with the heating contractor, who will offer higher priority for emergency repairs to existing customers.

Look into insulation options that make heating more efficient.

Make sure tenants understand how to work the thermostat, and that their furnishings aren’t blocking the heating vents.

Install a tamper-proof thermostat.

The other advantage of keeping the unit warm:  tenants won’t feel the need to bring in space heaters which can raise the fire danger, or in some cases, cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

See last weeks Landlord Quick Tip.

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