In: Landlord Rights, Tenant Rights0

The tenant did what? A story about air conditioning and landlord/tenant law.

There’s a fun little story posted on reddit that seems so absurd it has hit Facebook and other social media outlets. Allegedly, one person’s tenant got so frustrated with him for not fixing his air conditioning that he up and stole the house. According to the story, the tenant’s father was the owner of a moving company. When the landlord hired a contractor to fix the AC, the house had disappeared. Now, this story may be a bit farfetched to say the least, but it raises some good questions:

  • Does a landlord have to repair an air conditioning unit?
  • If he/she doesn’t repair it, can a tenant retaliate?

We’re in Texas, so we’re going to look at this from Texas laws. Keep in mind that every state’s landlord/tenant laws are different.

Does a landlord have to repair an air conditioning unit?

It depends. That’s a nice, clear answer, isn’t it? Like anything in law, the answer isn’t clear-cut. Under Texas law, landlords must make repairs to things that affect their tenants’ health and safety — such as sewage leaks and shattered windows — and they must do so in a reasonable amount of time.

In Texas, it can be argued that a landlord has to repair an air conditioner if the temperature is extremely warm. In fact, there are some Texas cities that have regulations requiring landlords to keep properties cool during the summer months. In extreme cases, a landlord must repair the air conditioning unit within three days. Your lease agreement may also include provisions that require air conditioning repairs.

This does not mean that every case is an urgent case or a clear case. Air conditioning repairs are not necessary, for example, in good weather. As we said before, it depends on the circumstances. If you are a landlord or tenant facing this issue, speak with a lawyer.

Can tenants retaliate when they are living in a sauna?

This answer is a bit clearer: No. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t steal the house you live in. But it is also dangerous for a tenant to withhold rent. There are specific steps tenants should take if they believe they have a case against their landlord, which you can read about on our FAQ page.

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