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Apartment AC not Working

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What Can Tenants Do to Prevent A/C Failure?

There are some basic maintenance steps that tenants can take to better care for their air conditioning units. Importantly, air conditioning users should consult any documentation provided by the manufacturer of the unit—such as owners manuals. The manufacturer might recommend certain preventative maintenance measures. These might include:

  • Regularly changing or cleaning the air filter
  • Ensuring that the condenser is dripping correctly
  • Ensuring that the coils are clean and free of debris

In some cases, tenants may not have the relevant documentation for the air conditioning unit in question. In that cases, they may be able to take alternative steps, such as reaching out to their landlord to request documentation or reaching out to the manufacturer. It may also be possible to locate documentation online from the manufacturer’s website.

What Should Tenants Do if Air Conditioning Fails?

Manufacturers of air conditioning units may make certain basic troubleshooting recommendations, such as resetting the unit, or turning it off and on again in the event that it unexpectedly stops working. Tenants who are experiencing air conditioning failure can begin by consulting whatever relevant documentation is available from the manufacturer of the unit. If the manufacturer offers troubleshooting instructions for common problems, tenants may be able to follow them.

If the air conditioning unit was included as part of their rental, they should immediately contact their landlord, in writing, and request repairs for the unit should it stop working. If the unit was not supplied as part of the rental, it may be necessary to call a professional HVAC technician for repairs. Tenants who are not qualified and trained to work on air conditioning systems should not attempt to make any repairs. There are a few reasons for this.

Firstly, HVAC systems can be highly complex—and may even be even dangerous to work on. As such, tenants should not attempt to repair the unit. A tenant who is unqualified to make advanced repairs on an air conditioning unit could face a number of serious risks in attempting to do so. These might include the risk of further damaging the unit, which they could be held responsible for, the risk of electric shock, the risk that they in some way harm themself while attempting to repair the unit, and the risk that they damage the electrical system that the unit relies on.

As such, tenants can and should ensure that they consult with the manufacturer’s documentation and adhere to recommendations made by the manufacturer, such as regular maintenance—like changing the air filter regularly, keeping the coils clean, and ensuring that the condenser tray is able to drain properly.

However, beyond that, should an A/C that was included with a rental stop working, it is important that tenants contact their landlord as soon as possible. While calling on the phone may be the fastest and easiest way to get a hold of your landlord, tenants should also make sure that any requests for repairs that they make are in writing, and sent to the same place where rent is normally paid.

For example, Summerhouse Square residents can submit work orders online through the Resident Portal.

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Whose Responsibility is Repairing it?

While, in Ohio, landlords are not legally required to supply air conditioning in the first place, they are obligated to keep supplied fixtures and appliances in working order—including air conditioning units. In other words, if there was an A/C unit included with your rental at the time of signing a rental agreement, it is your landlord’s legal responsibility to maintain that fixture in working order. However, if you’ve supplied your own window unit, for example, and it was not included in the rental, you may be solely responsible for ensuring that it works.

In the event that an air conditioning unit that was included with a rental stops working, the tenant submits, in writing, a request for repair that clearly outlines the problem to the same address where they normally send rent payments, and the landlord still fails to make timely repairs, typically within a thirty-day period, Ohioan tenants who have not received a notice in writing that their landlord owns fewer than four rental dwellings, may have the legal right to put their rent payments in escrow—assuming that they’re current on their rent payments.

After that, the landlord may need to comply with their legal responsibility to repair the appliances in the apartment to working order before they’re able to receive the rent payments from the court. At no point should tenants stop making timely rent payments, however.

The Bottom Line

When A/C stops working, it can be frustrating and worrisome. Fortunately, some steps can be taken to not only minimize the risk of air conditioning failures, such as regular manufacturer-recommended preventative maintenance, and steps can be taken in the event of air conditioner failure, such as following manufacturer-recommended troubleshooting steps and contacting the landlord to inform them that the unit has failed and request repairs.

Tenants generally should not, however, attempt to repair their own air conditioner if it fails, beyond basic troubleshooting steps provided by the manufacturer, such as resetting the unit. Doing so could expose them to serious risks such as that of being injured or further damaging the HVAC or electrical system in the building. Instead, if the A/C was included with their rental, they should contact their landlord as soon as possible, in writing to let them know what the problem is and request repairs if applicable. If tenants supplied their own air-conditioning unit and it was not included in the rental, they may need to call a professional HVAC technician to make repairs to the unit.