Air-Conditioning Rental Rights

by Tom Simplot

Aug 14, 2016

If the air-conditioning goes out, renters need to follow the proper steps to ensure they get the unit repaired the right way, in a timely manner.


1. Notify your community manager or the rental owner as soon as the AC unit goes out. It’s best to document the situation, in case of any issue.


2. Don’t try to repair the unit yourself. This may cause unintentional damage to the AC unit and the landlord could hold you liable for repairs.


3. You have a right to habitability in your rental unit and management must make repairs within five days. After that, residents are permitted to remedy the situation on their own, at the owner’s/ manager’s expense. A renter may hire a professional to repair the AC or they can move out and take expenses out of next month’s rent. Expenses are limited to $300 or half the monthly rent, whichever is greater. You must document these expenses in order to take them.


4. Document all conversations regarding the repair and pay rent on time. Withholding rent or paying late to encourage service may result in forfeiting your right for reimbursement.


Your city’s neighborhood services office may also be able to help. The Arizona Multihousing Association, the Phoenix Association of Realtors, and the City of Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department partnered to create a set of recommended heating and cooling temperature requirements for habitable spaces.


The Law Department with the City of Phoenix ( programs/compliance) researched other city ordinances and recommended the following heating and cooling temperature requirements for habitable spaces:

» 70 degrees Fahrenheit for heating.

» 86 degrees Fahrenheit for evaporative cooling.

» 82 degrees Fahrenheit for air conditioning.