The responsibilities of landlords to their tenants can vary wildly from place to place. Residential property management assists landlords in helping them to understand what, exactly, their role is to be when they rent out their property to a tenant. When the temperatures begin to rise at the beginning of summer, one question burns at the backs of new landlords’ minds: What do I do about air conditioning?
This is one of those concerns that isn’t simply answered with a “yes” or a “no.” There are some circumstances where landlords are, in fact, responsible for air conditioning in some capacity. Likewise, there are many more instances where this is not a requirement. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the subject to help you, as a property owner, understand what your responsibility is regarding air conditioning in your rental unit.
Residential property management companies field all manner of questions from landlords looking to rent out to tenants. Where the condition of the property is concerned, what matters here is the habitability of the space. There is no universal standard applied to all rental units, but in general the property must be:
- Fully operational (in reference to plumbing, electricity, and gas)
- Free of pest infestations
- Free from health hazards like lead, asbestos, and mold
- Equipped with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Able to be locked at the entry point(s)
Basically, the property must be safe and clean. This is the bare minimum standard required of all landlords.
There are very few circumstances that require landlords to provide air conditioning in any unit. It is worth noting that these circumstances do exist, however, and will depend on factors such as location. If your property is located in an area that frequently sees triple-digit temperatures, like Arizona or some areas of Texas in the United States, you will likely be required to provide air conditioning. This is a part of keeping the space safe for tenants, as extreme temperatures can be life-threatening.
If a tenant has a disability or other medical condition that may require air conditioning, the landlord may be expected to provide a standalone or window unit under the umbrella of “reasonable accommodations.”
If the unit comes equipped with an air conditioner, it is then the landlord’s responsibility to provide adequate maintenance to keep it in working form. A faulty air conditioner can spew contaminants into the air, like mold, or leak and cause water damage to walls and/or floors. In almost all states, it is required of the landlord to provide prompt maintenance.
If the landlord fails to provide the proper upkeep to their air conditioning units, tenants in some locations may be legally allowed to withhold rent or have the cost of repair deducted from their monthly rent payment. Should the issue not be resolved at all due to the landlord’s negligence, the landlord may be held legally liable.
Air conditioning is one of those grey areas that can differ regarding legal responsibility from place to place. When you’re unsure as to what you need to do to follow the law and do right by your tenants, you should consult with a residential property management firm. We know the ins and outs of tenant and landlord law, so both parties will be in a happy arrangement.