Broken air-conditioning unit? What are your tenant rights?

PHOENIX - Renters have rights if their air-conditioning unit breaks during extreme heat. 

Ken Volk with Arizona Tenants Advocates says air conditioning is considered an essential service and landlords have a responsibility to make sure it works. However, Volk says it is imperative tenants educate themselves on their rights. 

“You have to learn what is the obligation of the landlord, how you enforce those and what your rights are as a tenant,” said Volk. “Those three elements need to be understood before you do anything."

Volk says the next step is to notify your landlord with a written notice via certified mail or by a process server. From there, Volk says the landlord should act within 24 hours to fix the problem.

You also have the option to give your landlord a 5- or 10-day notice to fix the problem yourself. However, Volk says you need to cite specific language required by statutes.

“Unless you have that language in there, or something almost identical to it, you’re out of luck.” 

For example, if you’re exercising your rights under the self-help repair statute- which entitles you to bring in a licensed contractor - Volk says you need to include specific language in your written notice.

“Your notice needs to let the landlord know, if they don’t fix it in 10 days, that you will do it on your own and take the costs out the rent,” said Volk.

Renters can get help at:
Arizona Tenants Advocates
Phone: 480-557-8905
Website: ArizonaTenants.com

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