What is a tenant’s recourse if their landlord will not repair their A/C in a timely manner?

UPDATED: Jul 25, 2011

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What is a tenant’s recourse if their landlord will not repair their A/C in a timely manner?

Our A/C went out on a Friday. It’s now Monday and the owner will not budge. He is insisting on going through his home warranty. It is (and has been) 90 + degrees each day. This is outrageous. My children are miserable as well as my out of town guests. Any action we can take? Any deduction in rent?

Asked on July 25, 2011 Florida


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In every lease, there is an implied warranty of habitability which means the landlord is required to maintain the premises in a habitable condition by complying with local and state housing codes.  When the tenant notifies the landlord, landlord has to respond within a reasonable time by making the necessary repairs.  If landlord fails to respond within a reasonable time, the tenant has the following remedies for a breach of the implied warranty of habitability: tenant can make the repairs (have someone repair the air conditioner) and deduct the cost from the rent or move out and terminate the obligation to pay rent for the balance of the term of the lease or if the tenant decides to stay on the premises, withhold rent and defend against eviction.  It could be argued that not repairing the air conditioner during the hot weather that has been scorching much of the country is a breach of the implied warranty of habitability and constitutes a health and safety issue.

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