This article was supplied by Jim's Air Conditioning
As a landlord or property manager, it can be difficult to balance financial decisions with the comfort of your tenants, especially for air conditioners in rental properties.
The decision of whether or not to install an air conditioner in your rental property can be difficult as it is, let alone deciding what type. We've spoken to some experts in the air conditioner industry to break down what you need to know about air conditioners in rentals and what you should know before you decide.
Ideal types of air conditioners for a rental property
There are three main types of air conditioners that would suit a rental property. Each has its own pros and cons that you need to weigh up before committing to one.
Ducted air conditioning
If comfort, efficiency, and resale value are important to you, then ducted air conditioning is the option to consider. Ducted air conditioning offers efficient heating and cooling across the whole home from a single unit.
This air conditioning system can be installed in new and old homes but is most cost-effective when installed in new builds. Retro-fitting a ducted air conditioner in an older home is more laborious and so more costly.
While this system might cost more upfront, environmentally conscious property owners will appreciate greater efficiency and a lower carbon footprint. Your tenants will appreciate the lower runnings costs for this air conditioning unit too.
If you're considering selling this investment property in the future, ducted air conditioning is a great selling point and will increase the marketability of your home. Some homebuyers will pay more for a home with ducted air conditioning than one without too.
Verdict: Ducted air conditioning is a good option for landlords willing to pay the higher upfront cost for efficient and environmentally friendly air conditioning, and increased marketability for future resales.
If the upfront cost of ducted air conditioning is too much, installing a split system might be the way to go. These air conditioning systems are great at heating and cooling individual rooms.
These units are still energy efficient and are considerably more cost-effective upfront compared to ducted systems. That said, if you're considering installing multiple split systems, the installation cost will rival that of ducted air con.
Verdict: For the more budget-conscious landlord who still wants an efficient air conditioning system, split systems are a good middle ground.
Window/wall air conditioner
When the price is a concern but you still want to keep your tenants comfortable when the Australian heat hits, a window/wall air conditioner is your best bet. These units have low installation costs and require minimal labour to install too - just placing it in a window or cutting a section from your wall and placing it there.
There are some downsides to window air conditioners, however. The first is that they're not the most efficient units. Energy bills tend to fall on the tenant, so while efficiency isn't a financial concern for you as the property owner, you will be responsible for the environmental effects of it.
Window/wall air conditioners are also considerably noisier than the other types we've discussed. When the heat really sets in, this unit will keep your tenants cool when it matters most at least.
Tenants can even buy their own window air conditioner and put it in the window at no cost to you!
Verdict: When you just want to keep your tenants comfortable but don't have the cash to splash out with a fancy air conditioner, a window/wall air conditioner is your best option.
Portable Air Conditioner
If you're simply not in the position to install air conditioning on your property, you can recommend to your tenants that they go and purchase a portable air conditioner. While not energy efficient, this type of air conditioner will at least keep your tenants comfortable and the upfront cost is low.
Ideally, you'd like to maintain your tenants for the long term and this option might lead them to look elsewhere to rent, however.
Verdict: When finances are tight, this is your best option for the short term. Long term you might find it difficult to find long-term tenants though.
Can I ask for extra rent with an air conditioner?
If your rental property doesn't have an air conditioner and your tenant has asked for one to be installed, you can negotiate an agreeable rental increase. This shouldn't be an opportunity to gouge your tenant with an unreasonable rental increase.
Long term this won't work out in your favour, likely causing your current tenant to seek alternative accommodation after their lease is over. This will leave you with a vacant property and the responsibility of the mortgage alone.
With all this information, you can weigh up the benefits of each type of air conditioner and decide which will best suit your rental property.