What to Do if the A/C in the Home You're Renting Breaks

What to Do if the A/C in the Home You're Renting Breaks

The good news is, the house you’re renting includes air conditioning; the bad news is, the rental A/C has just broken down. Resolving air conditioning issues in a house you own is a simple matter of contacting your qualified local HVAC contractor to schedule a service call. You’ll probably be back to cool comfort in a very short time. But what to do when it’s a rental property and you’re simply a tenant?

First, check the obvious.Verify that the system is turned on, set to “Cool” mode and that the thermostat setting isn’t pushed up out of normal range. If it's a window unit, make sure it’s plugged into the wall outlet. Don’t attempt any further do-it-yourself troubleshooting or repair of a rental A/C, however, as it could make you liable for damage.

Inform the owner.Don’t delay reporting malfunctions. If there’s an on-site manager, that person should be first to know. In the case of a rental house, however, the owner is typically not on the property so you’ll have to use available contact info to get in touch. Keep a record of the date and time and the name of the person you inform.

Stay safe.An overheated house can be a health hazard to occupants with particular health issues that make them vulnerable to high temperatures. In extreme heat, you may want to temporarily relocate elsewhere. Be sure to inform the property owner if you are taking this measure and keep receipts of any expenses incurred. If you decide to stay in the house, keep rooms shaded by closing blinds and drapes and turn on fans to circulate air.

Be informed.California state law does not require air conditioning in rental properties. However, if an existing air conditioner is specifically mentioned in the rental contract you signed, the landlord may be required to maintain and/or repair that unit only. Note that this obligation does not extend to air conditioners added by the tenant after moving in.

The cooling pros at Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical are always available for prompt, skilled repair of a rental A/C.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).