Landlord not fixing AC? Here's how to force them

Does a landlord have to fix a broken air conditioner right away? Nico Santos explains the law regarding broken air conditioning units.

Overworked air conditioning units often break down. When that happens you can turn on a fan and close the blinds, but your home's still going to get hot.

And if you rent, there may be some hoops to jump through with your landlord.

Ken Volk, a counselor, and president of Arizona Tenants Advocates suggests to come up with a plan first. He said rental laws favor landlords.

But there are things you can do.

Volk says a broken AC breaches what is known as the implied warranty of habitability. "You can argue that, in the heat of the summer, it's an emergency situation,” he said.

So how can you get your landlord to it fix it if they are lagging?

Option 1: A 24-HOUR NOTICE, FAILURE TO SUPPLY ESSENTIAL SERVICES

Repairs must start within 24 hours, and there are remedies in the meantime.

"You can relocate to substitute housing for the duration,” said Volk. Your housing management may decide to put you up in a hotel, or they may give you access to another unit in the complex if it’s available.

Or you can rent a portable AC unit, for which you should be reimbursed. "[You can] take the cost out of the rent,” Volk said.

Option 2: A 5-DAY NOTICE

"Fix this in five days or my lease will terminate in five days,” said Volk.

You can also opt to hire a licensed person to do the repairs—but only if it costs less than half of your rent. You legally earn the reimbursement.

Option 3: A 10-DAY NOTICE

It cites a different state statute that allows the renter to break the lease with no penalties if the repairs don’t get done.

"It's a violation of the contract itself,” Volk said.

It's important to note: You must notify your landlord before you try to move out, hire someone to repair your AC or rent a hotel room with the expectation of reimbursement.

"Unless you give the landlord notice under whatever statute, the landlord can get away with it forever,” Volk said.

He also suggests notifying them via certified mail. Even if your leasing office is steps away from your home, it’s best to have a paper trail with proof they saw the notification.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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