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6 On Your Side: Renter’s rights when it comes to air conditioning in apartments/homes

Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 11:00 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 15, 2022 at 4:22 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The dangerously hot weather has some of you turning to us for help with AC issues in your apartments. So, what do you do if your AC is out and you’re having trouble getting it fixed? Renters do have some rights in Alabama when it comes to issues affecting health and safety.

A viewer reached out to us this week saying her air conditioning went out in her apartment in late May. She says it’s 80 to 90 degrees inside forcing her to temporarily live with a relative. She reached out to her apartment management but so far they haven’t fixed her AC. So, she reached out to us for help.

The viewer is not alone. This time of year, we usually get plenty of calls and emails from renters with similar problems.

You do have rights. By state law, tenants have a right to a decent place to live. Housing codes must be up to par. The AC must be in good working order among other things. If management isn’t responding to your complaints, attorney Ken Riley says let them know about it in writing and keep a copy.

“They (tenants) can’t just go fix it themselves. They have to notify in writing - and that can be through an email - the problem,” Riley said.

Riley says landlords have 14 days to fix the issues.

“If the landlord fails act within 14 days and repair that issue. Make sure the person has air conditioning then the tenant can be released from their lease by law,” Riley said.

We did reach out to the apartment management on the AC issue we told you about.

As a renter, you have to pay your rent on time even if you have issues that need to be fixed. You also have to keep your place clean.

You can find a list of renter’s rights here.

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