Do Landlords Have to Fix AC? Tenant Rights in Nevada
by The Cooling Company, on Aug 16, 2018 1:12:00 PM
Southern Nevada residents are accustomed to coping with the heat. Scorching hot temperatures are a part of daily life, which makes air conditioning a necessity. Most Nevadans are familiar with surviving grueling summers, but a summer without functioning air conditioning makes that almost impossible.
What about if you are a renter living in a property with a busted air conditioner? Are you on the hook for your landlord’s busted AC? Fortunately, in the state of Nevada, air conditioning repair is considered an essential service that landlords must provide to tenants. On the flip side, your right to a functioning AC might not be respected. If you are a renter living in a property without a functioning air conditioner, it is essential to understand and exercise your rights.
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What Are Nevada Tenants' and Renters' Rights for Air Conditioning?
Not everyone knows that property owners are required to provide a set of essential services to their tenants/renters. This set includes but is not limited to:
- Running water and hot water
- Functioning plumbing
- Electrical lighting
- Functioning air conditioning
If one of these essential services fails in a rented property, then the dwelling is considered unfit for habilitation and renters have a right to have the problem remedied. However, for those rights to take legal force, a tenant must provide their landlord with a written notice of the failing essential service. Meaning, if your air conditioner is broken, your landlord is not required to make any repairs until after they receive a written request.
Do Landlords Have to Fix Air Conditioning?
State law in Nevada mandates that once notified in writing, landlords must make a good faith effort to repair a non-functioning air conditioner. Once provided with the written request for repair (see Sample Essential Services Letter), landlords have 48 hours excluding weekends and holidays to make the repair. Given that there is a strict 48-hour window provided to landlords, it is important to send your essential services request letter via certified mail.
If a landlord fails to make requested repairs to an essential service within 48 hours of notification, then tenants have four options.
1. Find an alternative method to obtain the essential air conditioning and deduct that cost from the cost of rent.
For example, if your air conditioner is broken, you can personally pay for a window-mounted AC unit, swamp cooler, or fans and deduct the price of your solution from the cost of rent. If you go this route, make sure to keep a verifiable record of your purchases.
2. Sue your landlord for damages that you incurred due to a lack of air conditioning including the reduction in rental value of the property.
If you go this route, you will take your landlord to small claims court. The claim against the landlord would be monetary damages suffered due to the lack of air conditioning.
3. Withhold rent from your landlord until he/she makes a good faith effort to repair your air conditioner.
In Nevada, when denied an essential service, you are allowed to withhold rent without incurring any late fees or penalties until your landlord makes a sincere attempt to rectify the problem. It is important to note, that rent that is already past due cannot be withheld on the basis of a lack of essential service.
4. Temporarily move to another dwelling.
You are allowed to live in comparable housing while your landlord is failing to comply with your essential services request and deduct the cost of that housing from your rent. If your alternative housing is reasonably similar in cost, then you are entitled to recover the difference in price from your landlord.
While landlords are required by state law provide a working AC to tenants, there is one exception. If the damage to the AC system was deliberate or caused by the negligence of a tenant, a member of the tenant’s household, or someone on the premises with the tenant’s consent, then the landlord is not required to repair the AC.
How Long Does My Landlord Have to Fix My AC?
In general, your landlord has 48 hours to repair your AC after receiving your request letter. However, if a government inspector notifies you and your landlord of a lack of essential service, then you can immediately take the four actions outlined above.
Tenants have a right to air conditioner in Nevada for a reason. Given the incredible heat of Nevada summers, living in a dwelling with no AC can be dangerous. If you are a renter living in a space with a broken air conditioner, exercise your rights. Remember, sending a written essential services request to your landlord is an integral part of the process. Luckily, if your landlord fails to act within 48 hours of receipt of your written notice, you have several options to protect yourself from the heat and are entitled to a reimbursement from your landlord.