Apartment's obligation to fix AC?

  • AZski

    Posts: 11

    May 25, 2015 5:59 AM GMT
    Hello men. I was wondering if someone could help me out... Is an apartment complex in Texas obligated to supply you with working AC... Im going on night 3 with no AC and no one has even been out to check it out yet.. I am thinking I am going to deduct however many days from my rent that I do not have AC and tell them they can suck it (not literally). Or does an apartment complex have no obligation to supply working air conditioning? (legally, or otherwise)

    Thank you!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 25, 2015 8:49 AM GMT
    If as advertised, and part of your apartment amenities when you moved in, such as AC, heat, dish washer, patio, pool, garbage disposal..etc, yes. Anything you are paying rent for that is included in the monthly, annual rental agreement. If you are paying rent for a AC unit, whether a thru wall mount or part of central air, your building owner must replace or fix the unit, via your apartment manager. Once you inform your apartment manager of the AC unit, your apartment manager will run it thru the building owner for either cash advance or instruction on ordering fix or replacement.

    You must tell your manager first, so don't delay. I would not advise taking rent money off yourself unless your manager agrees to it when you inform them of the AC problem. You could get yourself into trouble if you don't pay your full rent. Just keep track of the amount of time you were without your provided appliance, sometimes a AC fix or replacement can take a while, ordering or buying it, then scheduling installing or repair. If your AC appliance is not fixed in a reasonable amount of time, I would give them at least a month and periodic check ins with your manager after you have informed them, then I would start calling your local or city rent board and inform them of your building owners non compliance with your rental agreement.

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    May 25, 2015 12:51 PM GMT
    it is really shitty that your land lord has not responded to fixing your air conditioner.

    -i second the notion that you need to pay the full rent on time.
    -contact the property management or land lord that the air conditioner is not working. Use email than cert mail. Try to start a calm dialog with someone on exactly what is happening.
    -maybe everyone's air conditioner is not working? talk to other tenants. in that case your are one among many on a to do list. Maybe the land lord is changing property management companies or other prevailing issues.
    -do some trouble resolution your self; make sure the unit is plugged in as expected. See if you have any circuit breakers in the middle or off position. Even its not central air is the unit controlled by the thermostat (does the thermostat have a off-heat-cool setting). Verify the outside exhaust is not obstructed. Other tenants have the same issue and or how what was their fix?
    -its going to be a looong hot summer in TX so get the unit working as expected while its some what cool out. Keep the land lord up to date if you plan to break the lease on this issue.
    -keep records on this.
    -read your lease or ask for a copy of the lease you signed.
    -stay calm, this is a people issue not a air conditioning issue so noting going fwd if bridges burnt. Sorry about your experience.
  • Muscles25

    Posts: 394

    May 25, 2015 1:48 PM GMT
    Whoever tells you that your landlord is obligated to provide a/c (no matter what is advertised) knows absolutely nothing about the law. Most city and state laws cover the supply of heat to an apartment but say absolutely nothing about a/c beacuse it is not deemed something vital.

    You can complain and make sure you document your complaints but you can't withhold rent, you can't make a complaint to your local authority. You can just leave -- but make sure you follow the terms set out in your lease.
  • austex85

    Posts: 572

    May 25, 2015 1:58 PM GMT
    I suggest you read up http://texastenant.org/repairs.html

  • Hypertrophile

    Posts: 1021

    May 25, 2015 2:08 PM GMT
    If the AC was there and working properly when you moved in, more than likely the landlord is then compelled contractually to maintain it. I found this on line:

    "While heating is always required of a landlord, air conditioning is generally not. If it is required, it's likely that you'll find a provision in local rental law as opposed to state law, but be sure to check both.

    "Now, what if you already have air conditioning and it's not working properly?

    "A landlord's failure to properly maintain an air conditioner that he has already provided is not a matter of rental law, it's a matter of contract law.

    "Generally speaking, the rule is that if your landlord has provided you with an appliance, he is contractually obligated to provide one for the duration of your lease. He must also maintain and keep it in working order."

    http://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2011/05/do-landlords-have-to-provide-air-conditioning.html
  • Import

    Posts: 7190

    May 25, 2015 2:27 PM GMT
    You should read over your rental agreement and see if AC is included on the list of "amenities"... I know the place im at listed out everything on the contract.... dishwasher, AC, Washer/dryer, etc... it was all spelled out on the rental contract... CHeck ur contract and see if AC is listed on there as one of the things u get as pat of renting the unit. .

    ugh and u poor thing, I can't imagine not having AC in Texas... If it worked and has just recently broken, I imagine the complex will have to fix it. Call them up and complain, make them fix it.

    One time my AC broke last year and I was such an annoying cunt about it, but im like "wtf im not gonna sit here and sweat my ass off all night and day while they wait to come fix it when they feel like it... im gonna make them do it ASAP." So, I told them I have a medical condition that requires the AC to work and my asthma acts up (I don't, but i wanted to create a sense of urgency.....my comfort is an urgent matter).... Also, AC was listed on my contract as one of the amenities...so they were not meeting the provisions of their own contract... They came out and fixed it that day.
  • Muscles25

    Posts: 394

    May 25, 2015 3:43 PM GMT
    I would be stunned to learn that a landlord is required to provide air conditioning according to local ordinance. We have a "renters bill of rights" here in Chicago and it says nothing about a/c. A/c is most places is considered a convenience like a dishwasher not a necessity that one has to provide.

    Even if your lease states that a/c is provided it is not likely to be something that a local entity is going to get involved in in terms of dinging the landlord.

    You should complain and document, don't withhold rent, but also don't hold your breath that your locality is going to get involved in a dispute about a/c.

    Heat they would, a/c highly doubtful.
  • Muscles25

    Posts: 394

    May 25, 2015 3:46 PM GMT
    austex85 saidI suggest you read up http://texastenant.org/repairs.html



    This is an excellent source and lays out the process which can be lengthy. If you are not on good terms with your landlord and he is not so inclined it would take weeks, if not months, to get a/c fixed.

    I'd follow these steps and get that certified letter out ASAP (if you have talked to the landlord and he isn't being responsive) so that the process of waiting can start.
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    May 25, 2015 3:57 PM GMT
    I totally relate to your woes and as a landlord, I'm a horse of a different color. One of my 3 condo units has also lost air on Saturday like yourself due to the storms. My unit and the one just next to me are fine.

    As I write this note, my AC man is finally coming to the rescue (on Memorial Day) for unit A in about 45 mins. Let's just hope it's not the compressor.
    That said, I offered to put my tenant up in a hotel or that he could sleep on our Murphy bed till the Air is back on.

    He's opted to stay in his unit with some Vornado fans since the temp is still in the 60's in north Texas.
    Down in Austin where you are, it may be hotter. Not sure.
    My thoughts are you should ask that they at least offer you other accommodations or a rent reduction for this month since you were without air for these 3 days.

    Being without can totally suck if it's humid out like it is with all this rain. I'm just glad to finally see light at the end of the tunnel for one of my tenants!

    Let us know how this all pans out with your landlord.
    They need to make it right for you, and Pronto!
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    May 25, 2015 4:00 PM GMT
    I would assume they are certainly obligated, but in most states, you certainly cannot claim "inhabitability" and deduct it from the rent. My reaction is to review their lease and see if they are not fulfilling their legal obligations. If it stipulates they are obligated, I'd probably send the a copy of the lease with that circled and tell them you are giving them 10 days to fix the issue or you will consider them in breach and you will depart and go elsewhere.

    Probably prudent to get legal advice from those in the know if they don't fix the issue in the next week or so.
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    May 25, 2015 4:40 PM GMT
    If the lease (or rental agreement) includes air conditioning (or even if it does not, but the unit came with air conditioning and nothing says that you are responsible for repairs), the landlord is in breach of the lease agreement. What your remedies are all depends on Texas law (and Austin city ordinances, if any). There might be some "tenants rights" organization you could ask (if you were in California, there would be a number of those). Document your calls/complaints to the landlord in writing. Send a written letter. Since it is a holiday weekend, and maybe they do things slowly down in Texas, maybe it will be fixed Tuesday. Could be that they are just cheap, and don't want to pay an extra cost to have it fixed on a weekend.

    If they are just being resistant, you might try calling someone at 3 am if you have a home number, and complaining. You can try to find who are the actual persons who own the complex, and call them at 3 in the morning. Or print a banner to warn prospective tenants that the landlord does not repair broken appliances, and hang it from your window.

    If they eventually fix it, and you don't move out, consider suing them in small claims court if they have such courts in Texas.

    If the landlord breached the lease or rental agreement, this may be a good excuse to move - but consult a lawyer first.

    May be a good excuse to spend hot nights at the baths or a hotel.

    EDIT: If the outage had anything to do with recent storms in Texas, you may just have to wait a reasonable time to get it fixed, if all the repair people are swamped with work right now.
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    May 25, 2015 6:06 PM GMT
    Well, $266.75 dollars later, it turned out to be a fuse in the air handler and he filled all 3 compressors with more Freon.
    Hopefully this makes us through the summer without any further problems. I slipped a $20. in with the check as a "Thanks" for coming out on a holiday and making my tenant cool again.
    Another big storm is on it's way in about 2 hours.
    I've never seen this much rain in Dallas for the last 25 yrs!
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    OP, I hope they get your air on soon. I know it's starting to feel thick! Not the best running weather for sure...icon_neutral.gif
  • Svnw688

    Posts: 3350

    May 25, 2015 6:15 PM GMT
    I'm sorry for your AC problem. In looking at the relevant law, it seems no Texas state law nor Austin city law require, explicitly and per se, your landlord to provide a working AC. However, there's a general catch-all provision that you might be able to argue (i.e., it's so hot in Austin that AC becomes a threat to tenant safety/health). But I wouldn't bet the house on that last-ditch argument under landlord/tenant law.

    I'm hoping your Lease (which is essentially an enforceable contract) provides some relief. There might be a specific provision dealing with heating and cooling systems, or a general averment such as "landlord shall be responsible for all maintenance and repairs for all ordinary wear and tear to the premises." Iin such a case, "the premises" or some equally vague term would likely include your AC unit. I'd recommend the following.

    (1). Do not "deduct and repair" yet since you haven't followed the Texas guidelines (you couldn't have, there hasn't been enough passage of time even if you've sent the first Notice out). That will get you evicted andd potentially paying court and attorney fees for THEIR attorney.

    (2). Do not print a banner or otherwise be a dick. Yes, I know it's tempting, and it's what the unresponsive landlord morally deserves. But there is usually a nondisparagement clause in most Leases. Leaflets, banners, megaphones, and an otherwise campaign against the landlord will likely get you evicted under the terms of your Lease. Again, you could end up paying court costs and THEIR attorney fees.

    (3). Immediately call a lawyer. In looking at the stautes they are "fee shifting" statutes which mean that attorney's are encouraged to take meritorious cases becuase they're assured to get paid their attorney's fees from the offending landlord when they emerge as the "prevailing party" before the judge. As such, IF you have ANY claim under the landlord/tenant law (which I personally doubt) then an attorney who does such work will be chomping at the bit to take this case. This is not confusing, either AC is required in Austin or it's not. A local attorney will know not only the law (that I looked up), but how relevant courts apply it (i.e., has AC been adjudicated under case law to be necessary for the health of tenants?). IF your claim is under the Lease, you're essentially looking at a contract claim, which is much weaker because the fee-shifting statute would not apply and an attorney would likely not take the claim (i.e., the attorney fee bill would cost more than a brand new air-conditioner). But check the Lease to see if there is a fee-shifting provision within the Lease. This is less common, but sometimes is included in Leases. Either way, a local attorney will be able to tell you in about 2 minutes whether or not you have a legal claim.

    I hope you do. Good luck on resolving this!
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    May 25, 2015 6:15 PM GMT
    TheGuyNextDoor saidWell, $266.75 dollars later, it turned out to be a fuse in the air handler and he filled all 3 compressors with more Freon.
    Hopefully this makes us through the summer without any further problems. I slipped a $20. in with the check as a "Thanks" for coming out on a holiday and making my tenant cool again.
    Another big storm is on it's way in about 2 hours.
    I've never seen this much rain in Dallas for the last 25 yrs!



    Its the evil empire's Karma returning, punishment for all that anti gay propaganda & illegal extortion, the Lord works in mysterious ways icon_wink.gif


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    May 25, 2015 6:23 PM GMT
    ELNathB said
    TheGuyNextDoor said


    Its the evil empire's Karma returning, punishment for all that anti gay propaganda & illegal extortion, the Lord works in mysterious ways icon_wink.gif


    No shit.. not to mention all those damned Earthquakes we've been having in Texas. Too much drill baby, drill going on.
    One that happened last week was so loud that I thought the floor to ceiling windows were going to burst.
    I actually covered my eyes it was so scary!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 25, 2015 6:35 PM GMT
    TheGuyNextDoor said
    ELNathB said
    TheGuyNextDoor said


    Its the evil empire's Karma returning, punishment for all that anti gay propaganda & illegal extortion, the Lord works in mysterious ways icon_wink.gif


    No shit.. not to mention all those damned Earthquakes we've been having in Texas. Too much drill baby, drill going on.
    One that happened last week was so loud that I thought the floor to ceiling windows were going to burst.
    I actually covered my eyes it was so scary!



    We are used to them here in SoCal, your TX 3.3 mag was not that big, but rare in TX anyway. Every time we have something felt, I go to the USGS website, "did you feel it" and record it using my zip code. Then you can check to see who felt it by everyone's recorded zip codes. I am sure CA is due for something significant, since '94 Northridge.


    Did You Feel It?
    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/dyfi/
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 25, 2015 7:09 PM GMT
    I'm a landlord in Austin. All of these questions should be answered in your lease.

    1. You must pay your rent.
    2. You may vacate, but that will likely violate your lease. You will lose your security deposit, and you'll be liable for the rent remaining on your lease term. Your landlord will also likely sue you, and judgements will reflect on your credit rating.
    3. Many leases list items that will be repaired in a timely manner. If your A/C is one of them, most likely your lease spells out that requests for repair must be in writing.

    Read this page: http://texastenant.org/repairs.html

    Your landlord may be obligated to repair your A/C if it's particularly hot weather. If you have a standard Texas lease, this may already be mentioned. Turnaround is generally 7 days from receipt of written notice.
  • Svnw688

    Posts: 3350

    May 25, 2015 7:19 PM GMT
    ELNathB said
    TheGuyNextDoor said
    ELNathB said
    TheGuyNextDoor said


    Its the evil empire's Karma returning, punishment for all that anti gay propaganda & illegal extortion, the Lord works in mysterious ways icon_wink.gif


    No shit.. not to mention all those damned Earthquakes we've been having in Texas. Too much drill baby, drill going on.
    One that happened last week was so loud that I thought the floor to ceiling windows were going to burst.
    I actually covered my eyes it was so scary!



    We are used to them here in SoCal, your TX 3.3 mag was not that big, but rare in TX anyway. Every time we have something felt, I go to the USGS website, "did you feel it" and record it using my zip code. Then you can check to see who felt it by everyone's recorded zip codes. I am sure CA is due for something significant, since '94 Northridge.


    Did You Feel It?
    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/dyfi/


    But there's a huge difference in EARTH and in STRUCTURE. First Texas/Oklahoma earth/shell is really brittle and it shakes in a much more violent manner than does SoCal land, which is so moistened its subjec to liquifaction. In terms of structure, your buildings are mandated to be retrofitted and to comply with shaking up to XYZ rating. No home or building in Texas or Oklahoma is designed like that. So a 5.0 to you is nothing, whereas a 5.0 here causes the collapse of homes. It's not because we're poor or have per se "cheap" construction, it's simply a matter of our homes not being designed for such movement. In addition, nobody's insurance policy comes with earthquake damage, and VERY FEW people got an earthquake Rider to their policy in Texas and Oklahoma. So 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0s have hit Texas and Oklahoma (I personally experienced a 5.0 at the 30th floor penthouse, and it scared me shitless, the building was swaying like crazy), we get huge damage because we're not designed to withstand ANY shaking, and our insurance won't cover it.

    It's literally a recipe for disaster here. Oklahoma is more siesmic than California now. Most times I'm in Tulsa I feel and hear earthquakes. Earthquakes are more normal than tornadoes to us now. It's not right.
  • Hypertrophile

    Posts: 1021

    May 25, 2015 7:33 PM GMT
    TheGuyNextDoor saidWell, $266.75 dollars later, it turned out to be a fuse in the air handler and he filled all 3 compressors with more Freon.
    Hopefully this makes us through the summer without any further problems. I slipped a $20. in with the check as a "Thanks" for coming out on a holiday and making my tenant cool again.
    Another big storm is on it's way in about 2 hours.
    I've never seen this much rain in Dallas for the last 25 yrs!
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    OP, I hope they get your air on soon. I know it's starting to feel thick! Not the best running weather for sure...icon_neutral.gif


    Good for you jumping on this issue and getting your tenant squared away.

    This is where a good handyman is very valuable. Most of the stuff I fix, such as replacing a fuse in an AC, changing a water heater, wall mounting a TV, etc., is done for a fraction of the cost of the same services from a plumber, electrician, Geek Squad, etc. I frequently provide two separate and unrelated services in the same hour, such as changing a light switch after replacing a faucet cartridge, saving my clients even more money. A plumber would rarely change a light switch for you.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 25, 2015 7:40 PM GMT
    Svnw688 said
    ELNathB said
    TheGuyNextDoor said
    ELNathB said
    TheGuyNextDoor said


    Its the evil empire's Karma returning, punishment for all that anti gay propaganda & illegal extortion, the Lord works in mysterious ways icon_wink.gif


    No shit.. not to mention all those damned Earthquakes we've been having in Texas. Too much drill baby, drill going on.
    One that happened last week was so loud that I thought the floor to ceiling windows were going to burst.
    I actually covered my eyes it was so scary!



    We are used to them here in SoCal, your TX 3.3 mag was not that big, but rare in TX anyway. Every time we have something felt, I go to the USGS website, "did you feel it" and record it using my zip code. Then you can check to see who felt it by everyone's recorded zip codes. I am sure CA is due for something significant, since '94 Northridge.


    Did You Feel It?
    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/dyfi/


    But there's a huge difference in EARTH and in STRUCTURE. First Texas/Oklahoma earth/shell is really brittle and it shakes in a much more violent manner than does SoCal land, which is so moistened its subjec to liquifaction. In terms of structure, your buildings are mandated to be retrofitted and to comply with shaking up to XYZ rating. No home or building in Texas or Oklahoma is designed like that. So a 5.0 to you is nothing, whereas a 5.0 here causes the collapse of homes. It's not because we're poor or have per se "cheap" construction, it's simply a matter of our homes not being designed for such movement. In addition, nobody's insurance policy comes with earthquake damage, and VERY FEW people got an earthquake Rider to their policy in Texas and Oklahoma. So 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0s have hit Texas and Oklahoma (I personally experienced a 5.0 at the 30th floor penthouse, and it scared me shitless, the building was swaying like crazy), we get huge damage because we're not designed to withstand ANY shaking, and our insurance won't cover it.

    It's literally a recipe for disaster here. Oklahoma is more siesmic than California now. Most times I'm in Tulsa I feel and hear earthquakes. Earthquakes are more normal than tornadoes to us now. It's not right.




    Well, TX is in real trouble then. You combine frequent earthquakes with its deregulation, poor infrastructure and you have the making of a third world country building disaster (see Haiti and Nepal). These recent floods and tornadoes cant be helping its current disastrous infrastructure either, I am surprised TX hasn't declared a state wide emergency yet and ask for government help. Yes, CA has been retrofitting buildings for some time now but mandated by heavy regulation, regulation conservatives hate in TX. That attitude probably will kill more people in TX than a big earthquake in CA icon_rolleyes.gif


    TX poor Infrastructure
    http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/texas/texas/
  • KissTheSky

    Posts: 1980

    May 25, 2015 11:23 PM GMT
    Import saidYou should read over your rental agreement and see if AC is included on the list of "amenities"... I know the place im at listed out everything on the contract.... dishwasher, AC, Washer/dryer, etc... it was all spelled out on the rental contract... CHeck ur contract and see if AC is listed on there as one of the things u get as pat of renting the unit. .

    ugh and u poor thing, I can't imagine not having AC in Texas... If it worked and has just recently broken, I imagine the complex will have to fix it. Call them up and complain, make them fix it.

    One time my AC broke last year and I was such an annoying cunt about it, but im like "wtf im not gonna sit here and sweat my ass off all night and day while they wait to come fix it when they feel like it... im gonna make them do it ASAP." So, I told them I have a medical condition that requires the AC to work and my asthma acts up (I don't, but i wanted to create a sense of urgency.....my comfort is an urgent matter).... Also, AC was listed on my contract as one of the amenities...so they were not meeting the provisions of their own contract... They came out and fixed it that day.


    This is brilliant!
    I would try this... the last thing they want is to be sued for negatively impacting someone's health.

    Alternatively you could go buy a window AC unit... at least you'll be cool.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    May 26, 2015 12:01 AM GMT
    DO NOT deduct any amount from the rent you owe.
    No matter what, this is grounds for your landlord to evict you.

    Have you contacted your landlord to tell him/her that the AC is not working ?

    If AC was included in your original rental agreement, your landlord has to continue offering it, which means he has to have it repaired.



  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 26, 2015 12:10 AM GMT
    Webster666 saidDO NOT deduct any amount from the rent you owe.
    No matter what, this is grounds for your landlord to evict you.

    Have you contacted your landlord to tell him/her that the AC is not working ?

    If AC was included in your original rental agreement, your landlord has to continue offering it, which means he has to have it repaired.


    If you are living in a large complex you will have a harder time getting anything fixed on a timely manner.
    A smaller property like my triplex makes it easier to get things done. Not that all landlords care about your comfort like I do...
    My guess is the transformers blew somewhere and parts are hard to come by on a holiday weekend.
    I was fortunate my fix turned out to be an easy one.

    Where I work in Las Colinas, was not so fortunate, they too lost power on Saturday. So my boss and I had to go in and dump everything in all the coolers. Milk, packaged yogurts etc.
    Tomorrow at 6am I'll go in early to get all the rest out of smaller fridges since the elevators weren't working.
    They are having to wait till tomorrow morning to get the parts to fix some of the top Execs. AC in their offices.
    Oh, the fun tomorrow will bring!

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 26, 2015 3:01 AM GMT
    TheGuyNextDoor saidWell, $266.75 dollars later, it turned out to be a fuse in the air handler and he filled all 3 compressors with more Freon.
    Hopefully this makes us through the summer without any further problems. I slipped a $20. in with the check as a "Thanks" for coming out on a holiday and making my tenant cool again.
    Another big storm is on it's way in about 2 hours.
    I've never seen this much rain in Dallas for the last 25 yrs!
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
    OP, I hope they get your air on soon. I know it's starting to feel thick! Not the best running weather for sure...icon_neutral.gif


    I would be grateful for how you handled that.