Is Your Landlord Responsible for Your Air Conditioner?


It’s always sunny in California, specifically in San Diego County where the summer heat beats down and winter is the furthest thing from a winter wonderland. If you’re renting a new apartment or home, you make have assumed your landlord is required to provide air conditioning. With as hot as it gets in California, we wouldn’t blame you if you made this assumption.

So here’s the million degree question:

Is air conditioning legally required in California?

And the answer?

As with all blogs now-a-days, the answer is a typically indecisive maybe!

Let’s explain:

California rental laws state all rental units must comply with habitability requirements.

And what do these habitability requirements entail?

The basics; plumbing, heating, electrical and gas systems.

Wait, isn’t there something missing?

Yup! Air conditioning units are not a requirement for a rental unit to comply with California’s habitability laws. In short, your landlord doesn’t have to provide you with a cooling unit.

There is a silver-ish lining however:

Your rental unit must, at the very least, be equipped with proper ventilation. Proper ventilation, as defined under California’s habitability laws, states all rooms must have a fan, vents, or at least a window that measures at minimum 20 by 24 inches and opens at least halfway.

Even more silver linings!

When it comes to the rental business, landlords face a lot of competition to attracts great tenants. In order to attract the best qualified tenants, a landlord wouldn’t even think to exclude an air conditioning unit in their unit listed for rent. All prospective tenants should ask if an air conditioning unit is included in a rental unit. Furthermore, you should make sure any terms in your lease regarding the repairs or replacement of your AC unit are fair and legal.

Why should you make sure your landlord includes AC in your rental unit?

Beyond the obvious reasons regarding comfort and cooling, if there’s an operable air conditioning system in the rental house or apartment when a tenant moves in, the landlord is expected to maintain the air conditioning system. If the AC breaks down due to any normal wear-and-tear issues, the landlord should be responsible for repairing or replacing the AC unit.

Well, that about sums it up!

Although an AC unit is not required for a rental unit in California to be habitable, make sure you’re getting an AC unit in your rental agreement and make sure your landlord’s terms for repairs and replacement are fair. If you or your landlord are facing any issues regarding your AC unit, call or contact our team at West Coast Heat and Cool and we can send over an HVAC technician as soon as possible!

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