5 Ways to Ensure Tenants Change Their HVAC Filters

HVAC is an acronym that all landlords should become familiar with. HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC). The HVAC system is that will keep a rental unit cool in the summer and warm in the winter. That means that the HVAC unit has quite a huge responsibility in making your rental unit comfortable for tenants all throughout the year.

This means that keeping the HVAC system running smoothly year-around not only saves the landlord a lot of money but that it can also cost if the HVAC system breaks down.

What can a landlord do to ensure that the HVAC system stays up and running? Well, one simple step that can be taken is to ensure that the tenant is changing the HVAC filter on a regular basis.

How does the landlord ensure that their tenants are changing their HVAC filters regularly? Well, there are several approaches a landlord can take to ensure that the HVAC filters are changed in their rental units regularly. The following are a 5 of the ways a landlord can choose to approach this matter:

  1. Make It Part of the Leasing Contract: Consider making it part of the lease that the tenants are responsible for replacing the HVAC filter on a regular basis to prevent the HVAC from having maintenance issues in the future. If the HVAC filters are not changed regularly the landlord can point out that the lease was not followed and that can make the tenant responsible for damages that the unchanged filters cause to the unit.
  2. Consider Providing Residents HVAC Filters: The amount of time between HVAC filter changes will vary based on the unit’s occupants and their needs, however, the average time between HVAC filter changes should be about 3 months (90 days). If you add a pet (cat or dog) to the unit then the filter should be changed every 2 months (60 days). Adding more than one pet (cat or dog) to the unit and the filter should be changed every 20 to 45 days. Providing tenants with the HVAC filters to change them often as they need to (based on the unit’s occupants) gives the tenants no excuses not to change them on a schedule.
  3. Change the Filters During Quarterly Inspections: Have the HVAC filters changed during a scheduled quarterly (every 3 months or 90 days) unit inspection. Many landlords do quarterly inspections for units (especially those with children and/or pets living in them) to ensure that there is no significant damage done to the property. This presents a great time for the landlord to change the filter in the unit to ensure that they do not go unchanged.
  4. When the Filter is Inserted – Write the Date On the Side: Writing the dates on the filter when you provide it to the residents or change the filters yourself can give you a clue as to when the filters were changed last. If your unit has been recently vacated and you have HVAC problems and find a filter that is two years old, you will know what the reason for the issues are. Then you will know if the tenants who were neglecting to change their HVAC filters could have possibly contributed to the HVAC problems that you are having.
  5. Let the Property Management Company Handle It: If you hire a property management company that oversees your properties, consider having them check the HVAC filters as part of their assigned maintenance for each unit. Property management companies can ensure that tenants are responsible and changing the filter if that was stipulated in their lease or ensure that they are doing it on a regular basis if it’s considered “routine” property maintenance.

These are 5 key ways that landlord can incentivize their tenants to continue to change the HVAC filters and keep the unit running smoothly.


These aforementioned measures can make it clear to the tenant that they need to be changing the HVAC filters regularly so that the HVAC system stays in good working condition. Ensuring that the unit is cared for properly can help the landlord avoid major expenses and repairs down the road.