Your AC Has Busted, But You're A Tenant. What Should You Do?

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If your AC has busted, you may be feeling a little bit desperate. Depending on the outside temperature, temperatures inside of your home could become uninhabitable very quickly. Unfortunately, AC systems and HVAC systems are usually too complicated for a tenant to fix on their own. When should you call appliance repair services

Is Your AC System a Required System?

Depending on where you live and your lease, your landlord may be required to repair your AC/HVAC quickly. Look up your state's Landlord-Tenant Code. It will say what temperature your house is supposed to be kept in. If it exceeds that temperature, your landlord must treat this as an emergency. They must fix the unit as quickly as they can or find you alternate housing.

If your temperature issues aren't that bad, that doesn't mean the landlord doesn't have to fix it. If the AC is noted as an amenity in the lease, they do have to fix it in a reasonably timely fashion. The time limit is usually within a few days.

What If Your Landlord Doesn't Fix the AC?

If your landlord doesn't fix the AC, it's legal for you to fix it yourself and then bill them for the difference. You can even deduct the costs of the repairs from your rent. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Always keep receipts. You'll need to prove that the air conditioning was serviced and how much it cost.
  • Get quotes. You don't want to go with an exorbitantly expensive service, as they may argue the costs. 
  • Communicate. Send written emails every step of the way, so you've documented your process.

Of course, if your lease doesn't mention AC at all, then you may be responsible for the repairs.  

What If You Can't Afford to Fix the AC?

If the house has an HVAC system that's too expensive to fix on your own, you don't have to. You can instead withhold rent from the landlord until it is fixed. In order to do this properly, you should create an "escrow" account. Your bank can help you with this. You need to deposit your rent money into this escrow account. 

This shows that you had the money and were not dodging your rent-paying facilities, but rather entering into an intentional contract to pay the rent when the unit was fixed.

Dealing with heat can be frustrating. If you're ready to fix your air conditioning system (with or without your landlord), you can call an appliance repair service for quotes. That will give you some idea of whether it's feasible to repair it yourself.