Are Property Managers Legally Required to Provide Air Conditioning
With summer in full swing, temperatures are rising, both outside and inside as well. Air conditioning can make life during the hot summer months more bearable and comfortable but what does that mean for landlords and tenants? Though landlords are legally required to make sure that their properties are habitable, does that mean that property managers and rental property owners are responsible for providing A/C? Do tenants have a legal right to have access to air conditioned units? Though many people believe that air conditioning is a modern necessity that doesn’t mean they are always right.
In most states landlord-tenant laws do not require property managers to provide air conditioning. In most jurisdictions, air conditioning is considered an amenity rather than a requirement of habitable living conditions. What that means is that as long as the rental is in a condition that is fit to be lived in, that’s all that matters. Though there is no national standard of defines what makes a property habitable, common expectations include:
- Working gas, heating, electric, and plumbing systems
- Operational sinks, toilets, tub/shower as well as hot water
- Non-leaking roofs and walls
- Doors that lock
- Freedom from health hazards, including asbestos, lead, and mold
- A place to sanitarily dispose of garbage
- Extermination of pest infestations
- Adequate ventilation
- Safe emergency exits (points of egress)
- Working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
This means that as long as the property is safe, sanitary, and secure it’s generally considered habitable. It does not need to be perfect, look pretty, or be overly comfortable.
Though air conditioning is usually considered an amenity, there are some times and places when a property manager is required to provide it however. In some cases, a tenant’s medical condition might require them to have air conditioning and providing it would be considered a reasonable accommodation for a disability required by law. And some states and counties known for their extreme heat, such as Texas and Arizona, regard air conditioning as an essential need due to the dangers of hyperthermia and heat stroke.
Just because air conditioning is not typically required, it does not mean that property managers and owners have no responsibility to maintain an air conditioning unit if one is provided. In California, for example, if air conditioning was a working part of the unit when the tenant moved in then the property manager is legally required to maintain it. That is true for most other areas as well. If an appliance is provided for the duration of the lease, then the property manager is responsible for it unless that is specifically changed in the lease terms.
Experienced property managers such as Martin Feinberg know the city and state laws where their properties are located and are always prepared to fulfill their obligations, whether it concerns the issue of providing and maintaining air conditioning for a tenant or something else. Professional property managers make rental property ownership much less stressful for the owners they work with by keeping tenants happy and operating within the bounds of the laws of their city and state.