Breaking News
More () »

How Phoenix tenants can get relief if home is not cool enough

Programs offered through the City of Phoenix can help renters if their place isn't cool enough, and help homeowners if energy bills are too high.

PHOENIX — In hot summer temperatures, homeowners and renters have options to help them stay cool in Phoenix.

Programs offered through the city can help renters if their place isn't cool enough, and help homeowners if energy bills are too high.

Landlords are required to provide reasonable cooling

In the City of Phoenix, landlords are required to provide reasonable cooling for tenants.

The city's ordinance requires places with air conditioning units to cool to at least 82 degrees and those with evaporative coolers to 86 degrees.

"We're not expecting people to be an expert on how hot it is. We know that when you're hot and you're miserable and you've tried to work with your landlord and things haven't been worked out, you want to get into us and make that phone call to us," said Julie Bordelon, Phoenix's Landlord and Tenant Program coordinator.

Bordelon said it's best to provide notice to landlords in writing that the cooling isn't working, and if they don't respond or don't work to fix it, contact the program for help.

However, Bordelon warns tenants to keep paying rent, as landlords not fixing an issue isn't a reason for renters to not pay.

Once staff with the Landlord and Tenant Program talk with a renter, then the Neighborhood Services Department gets involved.

“Once we verify the violation, we issue that notice of ordinance violation immediately - hand-deliver it, we send it out in the mail, we email it, whatever we can do to get it in the hands of the people that need it. And it's for 24 hours only," said Betsy Cable, code compliance manager for the City of Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department. "We immediately start having conversations with the property owner about getting repairs set in motion." 

Cable said the team also works with the landlord to get help for renters living in the heat, whether that's a portable air conditioner to cool a room or other accommodations. Bordelon recommends residents continue to stay hydrated while cooling isn't working as well. 

While this process can get repairs moving, Cable said renters often wait months before calling about something not getting fixed. 

"Don't wait," Cable said. "Notify your landlord, the leasing office, the maintenance, however it's set up for where you live, notify them immediately. And if you don't get a response within you know, the next day, reach out to them again, and then call the landlord phone number and get that process started." 

Help for homeowners to bring down bills

There is also help for homeowners in the City of Phoenix to save money on their bills.

It comes through the Weatherization Assistance Program, which can help low to moderate-income households in the city. 

"We can add window screens to your home to cut down the sunlight that comes in your home. We also do things such as HVAC service, repair or replace," said Omar Clark, project manager for the Weatherization program. "And then we can also do things more energy efficient in your home as far as appliances too." 

The work the program offers doesn't have to be paid back and is just for people to have lower energy costs. 

Clark said, on average, a household can save between $150 to $200. 

"It can make a big difference because it saves the homeowner money," Clark said. "That money that can save and go towards other things such as food, gas - because we know that that that price is going up - and also medical bills." 

Up to Speed

Catch up on the latest news and stories on our 12News YouTube playlist here. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out