What to do if your air conditioner stops working

tips for renters

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - The Las Vegas valley has record-breaking temperatures in the forecast and people are doing what they can to keep cool. But what do you do if you rent your home and your air conditioner breaks?

"Your landlord has a responsibility to maintain a habitable dwelling, so if we're talking about a rental and your A/C is not working, what you could have is what's called an essential service problem," said Dawn Miller, a staff attorney at Nevada Legal Services.

Nevada Legal Services is a non-profit legal aid organization with a specialty in landlord-tenant issues.

"What you're going to first have to do is send a written notice to your landlord and let them know that the air conditioner isn't working, and give them 48 hours to make repairs," said Miller.

Miller said you can email the letter, or hand deliver it, but recommends sending a signed letter through certified mail. Then, you have to give your landlord 48 hours to fix the problem, or at least try. If they don't at least try to fix the air conditioner here are your options:

  • You can end your lease
  • Withhold rent
  • Stay somewhere else and charge your landlord for the price difference
  • Fix the problem yourself and withhold the cost of the fix.

But it's more complicated if the landlord says they're trying to fix it but you don't think they are.

"If you question the landlord's genuine efforts to make repairs, maybe it's best you get in front of a judge and explain it to a judge and see what he has to say," said Miller.

The biggest mistake Miller said she sees people make is withholding rent before going through the legal process she laid out or being behind on rent.

If you need examples of what written notice should look like, Nevada Legal Services has sample letters. They also teach a tenants rights class. It is every other Friday from 3-5pm at the Clark County Law Library.

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