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    Staying Cool: Is Air Conditioning Required?

    With summer temperatures starting to rise, many landlords and tenants alike will be looking for ways to stay cool theses upcoming months. Air conditioning is the number one choice for staying cool and comfortable over the summer months and many tenants won’t even rent a property without A/C. Tenants may even feel that the landlord must provide it, but it this true? Are landlords required to provide A/C in their rental units?

    The answer isn’t entirely straight forward, as the answer does vary from state-to-state and province-to-province, but generally, NO, a landlord is not required to provide A/C.

    One of the fundamental requirements for a rental property is that the space must be inhabitable and in every state and province this means that locking doors, hot water and heat must be provided. Most states and provinces go further and have distinct laws about what minimum temperatures are acceptable and what times of the day the temperature refer to. For example, in New York state heat is required from Oct 31st – May 31st and must be at a minimum of 68⁰F between 6 AM and 10 PM when it’s below 55⁰F outside.

    But what about A/C?

    In the state of Arizona, A/C is legally required to be offered to any rental tenant as the Arizona Department of Housing has deemed air conditioning a necessity. However, in California, air condition is considered an amenity and a landlords are not required to provided it.  (But it sure is nice when they do!)

    But what if a rental unit has an air conditioner unit in the rental property but it does work?

    In California and most other states or provinces, if a landlord includes an air conditioning unit in the rental property on move in, the landlord is legal required to ensure it works. Otherwise the landlord could be at risk of being in breach of contract. The requirement to maintain an existing air conditioner goes under the working appliance guidelines that state if a landlord has provided you with an appliance, it is the landlords responsibility to ensure the appliance is in working order.  This means that it is the landlords responsibility to maintain the air conditioner and keep the unit running smoothly.

    However, it is the tenant’s responsible to repair the unit if it’s not in working order due to inflicted damage, the landlord is not responsible for the repair in this case. However, if lack of care causes the unit to break down, then the landlord is required to get it in working order within a reasonable time frame. In Arizona, a landlord only has 2 working days to repair an A/C unit before a tenant can start to legal withhold rent. (However, this is both a sticky and tricky situation, so tenants be sure you know the laws before doing so.)

    When it comes to what a landlord must provide, make sure to check out your local tenancy information to know the local specifics in terms of heat requirements, air conditioning and appliance maintenance.

    Want to learn more, check out these excellent articles below.

    Furnace Compare: Do you have a Right to Air Conditioning?

    FindLaw: Do Landlords Have to Provide Air Conditioning?

    SFGate: Landlord’s responsibilities — yes on heat, no on air conditioning.

    Online Sunshine: Official Site of the Florida Legislature – The 2016 Florida Statutes

    Assembly of State, New York – Tenants’ Rights

    Arizona Tenants’ Rights and Responsibilities Handbook

    Is My Landlord Required to Provide Heat and Air Conditioning?

    Who’s Responsible for Furnace and HVAC Maintenance?

     

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