As temps spike, what are your tenant rights when it comes to A/C - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

As temps spike, what are your tenant rights when it comes to A/C?

Landlords have the option on whether to allow tenants to have window air conditioner units. (Source: WOIO) Landlords have the option on whether to allow tenants to have window air conditioner units. (Source: WOIO)
NORTHEAST OHIO (WOIO) -

As the heat continues across Northeast Ohio, many renters are faced with a challenge.

They must keep cool without air conditioning.

Ohio law mandates that landlords keep homes at a certain temperature during the winter, usually around 68 degrees. However, there is no such law for the summer. That means renters are often on their own to find cooling options.

Cleveland Heights Chief Building Inspector David Harris says a lot of people don't understand what the law says and what their rights are. This time of year, he starts getting complaints from tenants about the properties where they live.

"All the time. When I say all the time, maybe one a day. We get those calls frequently," said Harris.

He says while there is no law requiring air conditioning, landlords must provide ventilation throughout your home.

"Ventilation requires one working window that has to stay up on its on and have a screen without any holes," said Harris.

What if your landlord does provide air conditioning and it breaks?

In the winter, landlords have a certain number of hours to fix a heating system before they're cited by their respective municipality. That is not the case with air conditioning, which under state law, is different. Landlords can choose whether to fix the system or remove it altogether.

Harris says it's important to read your lease and understand what your landlord will provide before you enter into a contract. If you're moving into a new building without air conditioning, pay attention to which direction you'll face. Windows that face East and West will receive more sunlight, which can make your home warmer, no matter what the season.

"You gotta figure out what side of the building you wanna live on to minimize or maximize the kind of light you want, you gotta find out the policy for both air conditioning and also heat," said Harris. "And just make sure you have proper ventilation in every room."

Making sure you stay hydrated is also important.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 39 people die each year from extreme cold in the United States. That's compared to 175 every year from extreme heat.

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