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Do Landlords Really Need To Provide Air Conditioning?

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Nearly everyone knows that a landlord must provide for basic necessities such as heat, electricity and running water. This is referred to as the warranty of habitability and is designed to protect the rights of tenants. Although the landlord does not need to foot the bill (unless it is stated in your lease), he must provide you with access to services deemed necessary to maintain relative comfort. Many assume the warranty of habitability applies to air conditioning as well and are surprised to learn that it isn't always true. Whether your landlord is required to provide air conditioning depends on your state and local renter's regulations and your lease, explains Find Law.

Renter's Agreements and Leases

Your renter's agreement or lease is a legal contract between you and your landlord. Each of you must uphold the agreement or risk violating the lease. If your lease specifically addresses air conditioning or cooling, and states the landlord will provide it, he is legally obligated to keep the air conditioning in good working order with the help of professionals from sites like http://www.certifiedappliancelv.com/. Even if your lease is silent on the issue of cooling, if the landlord provided an air conditioner when you moved in, you are still protected. The landlord is required to maintain any appliances or furnishings that are included in the rental unit. 

Air Conditioning Repairs

If your air conditioner goes on the blink, your landlord is responsible for repairs. That means that he cannot decide that he no longer wishes to provide air conditioning because he does not feel it is necessary, or he claims the cost is too high.However, unlike emergency repairs to heating or plumbing which must be repaired immediately, your landlord must be given reasonable time to repair the air conditioning. Reasonable time is a relative term. Its interpretation depends on the circumstances. For example, a court may find that 48 hours is a reasonable time if you live in a poorly-insulated apartment on the top floor and the mercury soars into the triple digits, but may find seven days or more reasonable in mild weather. Your state or local regulations may state a specific time frame for repairs.

If your air conditioner breaks down or fails to cool your rental unit properly, follow these steps to resolve the issue.

  • Notify your landlord as soon as possible. A verbal notification is fine.
  • Follow up with a written request for repairs if your landlord fails to address the issue. 
  • Include the date your problems began.
  • Note the exact nature of the issue, such as the unit no longer turns on or it fails to circulate cool air.

If you landlord fails to repair you air conditioning, your lease has been breached. You generally have the right to seek other housing, even if your lease is not up. In some cases, you may have the right to withhold a portion of the rent until the air conditioning is repaired. Seek legal advice before withholding rent, as regulations vary, depending on where you live. You also have the option of reporting your landlord to your local housing authority or taking him to small claims court to resolve the issue.

Window Air Conditioners

Under most circumstances, you have a right to install a window air conditioning unit in your living space. Unless the landlord purchases the window unit, or agrees to pay for it, you are responsible for the cost of the unit and any service or repair costs to maintain it. Unless your lease specifically states window air conditioners are not allowed in your building, you have the right to install one. The landlord typically pays the added cost of the electricity the air conditioner uses. However, if you rent month-to-month your landlord can increase your rent periodically and may choose to do so if you add an air conditioner. According to Nolo Law for All, regulations vary from state to state, but your landlord must give you proper notice, generally at least 30 days, before raising your rent.

To determine whether your landlord is responsible for providing air conditioning in your rental unit, read your lease carefully and check with your local and state housing regulations.