Ohio housing law says tenants don’t have a right to A/C, but calling 211 could connect you with a unit

Published: Jul. 16, 2019 at 6:53 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The summer is here in Northeast Ohio, and that means many of us are reaching for the air conditioning dial to cool off our homes.

Not everyone can do that, however. In many older houses, there is no access to air conditioning, and state law does not require landlords to provide it.

Yet, there is some good news for heat-weary renters.

"The Ohio Revised Code says that if a landlord provides it, they have to maintain it in good working order," said Senior Attorney at the Legal Air Society of Cleveland, Jennifer Sheehe.

“The way that’s been interpreted is it doesn’t matter if an air conditioning worked, they also have to turn it on, but if a landlord and a tenant contract, and that contract doesn’t include air conditioning, then it might fall on a tenant to have to buy window units to cool their apartment.”

Some towns and cities do have local rules and regulations that require a landlord to provide air conditioning, but state law only covers heating.

The Ohio Revised Code requires “running water, reasonable amounts of hot water, and reasonable heat” at all times, although it does not specify exactly what “reasonable” means.

Sheehe says the renter does have rights and should make sure to ask a lot of questions before signing any lease.

“The important questions to ask are: what is included? Is air included? Is heat included? Who controls it?”

If you live in Cuyahoga County, you can call 211 for information on programs that may help you find access to a low-cost or free air conditioning unit.

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