Is a dwelling considered uninhabitable when the landlord refuses to fix an AC unit?

UPDATED: Jun 27, 2012

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Is a dwelling considered uninhabitable when the landlord refuses to fix an AC unit?

I know that a dwelling can be considered uninhabitable if it lacks heating facilities in good working order and that the landlord would have an obligation to fix the heating unit; however, I am unclear if the same standard applies to an AC unit when the dwelling has central AC and heat and is in a location that reaches triple digits during the summer months. The only item the lease specifies will not be repaired or replaced by the landlord is the refrigerator.

Asked on June 27, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Generally Air condition is considered an amenity and not a necessary item for habitability.  I would read the lease and see what it says in regards to air conditioning and maintenance.  It seems from what you said the only item excluded from landlord repair was the fridge, which would mean they need to fix the AC under the lease agreement regardless of any implied warranty of habitability.


The following items are generally covered by the implied warranty of habitability:

  1. Effective waterproofing and weather protection of roof and exterior walls, including unbroken windows and doors.
  2. Plumbing facilities in good working order, including hot and cold running water, connected to a sewage disposal system.
  3. Heating and gas facilities in good working order.
  4. An electrical system which is in good working order with at least 2 outlets, or 1 outlet and 1 light fixture, in every room. (The bathroom requires only 1 light fixture.) Common stairs and hallways must be lighted at all times.
  5. At the time of commencement of the rental agreement, clean and sanitary buildings, grounds and appurtenances (for example, a detached garage or garden) which are free from debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents and vermin.
  6. Adequate trash receptacles in good repair.
  7. Floors, stairways and railings in good repair.
  8. A working toilet, wash basin, and bathtub or shower. The toilet and bathtub/shower must be in a room that is ventilated, and that allows for privacy.
  9. A kitchen with a sink, which cannot be made of an absorbent material (for example, wood).
  10. Natural lighting in every room through windows or skylights. Unless there is a ventilation fan, the windows must be able to open at least halfway.
  11. Safe fire or emergency exits leading to a street or hallway.
  12. Smoke detectors in all dwellings with more than one unit, and in common stair wells in apartment complexes.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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