Renters rights for tenants dwelling with out air-con in summer season warmth

August 21, 2022   |   by Noah Franklin

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) – Working from home is not as cool as Dana Trabue thought it would be. Her air conditioning unit quit working two months ago and at times it has been unbearable.

“This has been going on since April 18,” Trabue said. “It’s very uncomfortable. And it’s not fair because I pay my rent on time every month. And I’ve been here for five years.”

And Trabue is not alone, she said there are several other people at the complex living without A/C.

Attorney Stefanie Sparks works for Atlanta Legal Aid and said renters have rights when things get heated with their landlord.

“The first thing you always want to do is look at the lease,” Sparks said. “You can take them to court and sue them for the lack of air conditioning if your unit had air conditioning to begin with. If it didn’t, then you’re kind of out of luck.”

If court is not an option, Sparks suggests you make a written request for a portable air conditioning unit. Another option is to request a rent reduction in writing until the issue is resolved. And if all else fails, you may want to consider breaking your lease.

“If you want to break the lease, I would speak with your property manager and say, look, I really need air conditioning, can we work something out? Or am I able to break the lease without penalty because the lease may have an early termination fee, and that can be for some leases, it’s the entirety of the rent, you’re still owing the amount owed,” Sparks said.

As for Trabue, she received $500 off one month’s rent and a portable A/C unit but is still hopeful for a permanent solution.

“I said, well, you can at least put some freon in it to hold me over. He was like, what – freon is expensive. I said my rent is expensive too,” Trabue said.

In Dana’s case, the new property manager who just took over informed CBS46 that they are repairing her A/C unit and will be making repairs to others at the property in the coming days.

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