With a massive and dangerous heat wave affecting New York, do landlords have to provide tenants with air conditioning? 

The weather is going to be hotter than ever in New York. High-temperature records are expected to fall statewide this week. For those lucky enough to have air conditioning, you'll be able to avoid not only the sticky, uncomfortable feeling the heat brings,s but also the dangers of it. Hot temperatures like these can be deadly, and it's important to check on those who are the most at risk.   

These days, more and more people are renting vs buying their homes. Some come with AC, some do not. For those of you who do rent in New York State, and do not have an air conditioning unit or central air, is your landlord required to provide one for you when the temperatures reach these kinds of highs? 

Know Your Rights As A Renter In New York State

You are entitled to several things as a renter in New York to protect you after you sign your lease. Usually in this state, we're talking about heat in the winter. You do have a right to heat in your apartment during the winter months according to New York’s Tenant’s Rights Guide put out by the NY Attorney General.

“Heat must be supplied from October 1 through May 31 to tenants in multiple dwellings.”

If the outdoor temperature falls below 55°F between the hours of six a.m. and ten p.m., landlords must heat units to at least 68°F. If it falls below 40°F between 10 pm and 6 am, apartments then have to be at least 55°F.

Renters also have the right to see the apartment’s past two years’ worth of heating bills. It’s worth checking out before you sign your lease, so you’ll gauge how to budget appropriately. 

Are Landlords Required To Provide Air-Conditioning In New York State?

As for air conditioning in the hot summer months, that can be a little tricky.

If your unit had a working A/C until or central air when it was originally leased to you, the landlord is technically required to fix it. As explained by landlord and tenant attorney Matthew S. Chase in a response to a post on avvo.com,

 “In essence, you have the right to the premises as when it was leased to you, that is, with all the amenities as when it was shown to you. If they refuse the repair of the central A/C, you can be released from the lease.”

Before you move into a unit with air conditioning, it’s recommended that you ask the landlord to provide a clause in your lease with a procedure to follow in case it stops working or needs repairs.

The Good And Bad News For Renters In New York State

Unfortunately, the state does not consider air-conditioning to be a “necessity” for renters, and there’s no requirement that a landlord provides one in hot weather.

You can of course purchase a window or mobile unit. Keep in mind that there could be a catch, depending on if you pay your own electricity bill or if your landlord does.

If you use a service like National Grid, or another utility company, to personally pay your electric bill, and you purchase an air conditioner that’s a window unit, your landlord may collect a $5 per-month charge for each until that extends outside the window line, and you can’t remove it until your landlord gives you the OK.

If your landlord pays your electric bill, your landlord may charge you a surcharge for the use of electricity that the air conditioner uses. For more info, click here

What To Do As A Renter Before It Gets Too Hot

As the temperatures in New York soar into the 90s, or even 100s, this week, you should have a chat with your landlord to see what you can and can’t do in your apartment to stay cool.

After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

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