There is no state law that specifically gives tenants the right to be provided with air conditioning. However, the law or the lease agreement may require the landlord to protect their tenant against extreme temperatures or to fix a broken A/C unit. Be sure to review:
- Your lease agreement
- Your city's local ordinances
- The "repair and remedy" state laws that require a landlord to fix a problem that "materially affects the health or safety of an ordinary tenant."
To find out whether your landlord has a legal duty to repair your A/C unit, there are a few steps you could take.
Check Your Lease
Read through your lease to see if it mentions air conditioning. Your lease agreement may say whether your landlord has agreed to maintain your A/C unit. Alternatively, the lease may say that appliance repair is the tenant's responsibility!
If you need help understanding your lease, consider using Free Legal Answers. You can use this service to upload a copy of your lease so that a volunteer attorney can review it and respond to your questions.
Check Your Local Ordinances
If you live in a city, you may have local laws that require your landlord to protect you from extreme temperatures. Dallas and Houston both have ordinances that require property owners to provide and maintain air conditioning within a certain temperature. Note that in Houston, this is only required if door and window screens are not provided. Many cities make their ordinances available online.
Most cities do not require residential properties to have air conditioning. However, some cities have technical building codes with minimum standards that would apply if the unit does have air conditioning. If you suspect your unit's air conditioning systems are not up to code, consider contacting your local code enforcement department for help.
Request Repairs From Your Landlord
If your unit came with air conditioning and it is no longer working, state law may offer some protections. Section 92.052 of the Texas Property Code requires a landlord to "repair or remedy a condition" that "materially affects the physical health or safety of an ordinary tenant." Section 92.056 outlines the steps a tenant must take to request these repairs.
In order to request repairs under this section:
- You cannot be behind on rent; and
- The problem cannot be caused by you, your family, or guests unless it was a result of normal wear and tear.
This law would not require a landlord to provide you with air conditioning if you didn't have it before. However, it might require them to fix a broken unit.
Section 92.056 of the Texas Property Code has very specific procedures for asking the landlord to fix the problem. Make sure you follow these steps before taking other measures like ending your lease or deducting repairs from your rent. For more information on a tenant's right to repairs, please see the Repairs page of our Landlord/Tenant guide.
The law can be complex, so you may wish to talk to an attorney before taking any action. For more information on finding an attorney, please see the library's Legal Help page.
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