Difficulty with landlord re: AC Unit

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Topic: Difficulty with landlord re: AC Unit

Announcements August 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Difficulty with landlord re: AC Unit

We recently had some issues with our AC unit and had our landlord’s HVAC service come take a look at it. They informed us that it was malfunctioning because there was no filter in the unit – which was causing buildup on the coil(s).

There have been a few repairs/maintenance done on the AC unit in the past year – so it’s clearly someone from that service who removed our filter and didn’t replace it, or inform us that it needed to be replaced.

We’ve never changed the filters, because we have no idea how and have never had to worry about that in a rental unit before. Unfortunately, when I checked my lease agreement, it is listed as our responsibilities under a long list of other things that up until now – our landlord has gone above and beyond to take care of for us.

So, we fail at constantly checking on and changing the filters. But this damage was caused by whoever took the last filter out and said nothing.

The price tag on fixing this is over $1000 – which our landlord informs us we must pay for or he’s terminating our lease. I am just wondering if anyone has had a similar experience, knows anything about this issue, or has any advice at all?

4 Replies Add Reply

Couple of things:

1. How long have you lived at the place?

2. Is the system serviced by an HVAC company at least once a year (once for heat, once for cooling)?

3. Who has the previous service records?

Frankly, the HVAC company’s explanation that a missing filter has caused $1000 worth of damage is suspect. Unless your air is filthy, it would take more than 5-6 months without a filter to totally screw the coil. Also, are they saying the coil is clogged, or are the claiming its corroded? If its clogged, shop around for an HVAC company that will wash the coil for cheaper… $400-$500 is a reasonable price for cleaning a coil. If its corroded or leaking, then I would absolutely have a reputable service company come out and do a 2nd opinion, because that sounds like a crap explanation.

I’ve lived at the townhouse for a year and a half. The AC unit is only a year old though. They installed it last summer – and haven’t been back to look at it until it started having issues a few weeks ago.

Yup. Sounds like LL is trying to take advantage of you. I’d get a second opinion before making any decisions. Alternatively, I’d tell him/her to go pound sand.

Something here definitely stinks. If its a year old, it’s under manufacturers warranty at the least for parts if there’s actual holes in the coil. But a cool shouldn’t be getting so filthy it needs a chemical cleaning in one year of use even without a filter unless you’re running a pet grooming shop in your house. I’m not sure it’s your landlord trying to screw you so much as your HVAC company trying to screw your landlord.

Either way, you definitely need a second opinion, and your LL should pay for it. Make sure it comes from a reputable company that’s a factory authorized dealer of a reputable brand of HVAC equipment and check their BBB ratings.

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