Tenants have rights in these hot summer months– especially when it comes to air conditioning

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Holly Ray, the managing attorney for Legal Services Alabama, says that Alabama law rules that if a property has provided air conditioning as an amenity it has to be maintained in good repair like any other part of the property.

Unfortunately, when summer comes around, it appears that not all property managers take this law seriously.

“It works for probably one day, it usually cuts off that night, it does not come back on for probably a day or two," said Darrius Sykes, a renter at Serenity Apartments in Huntsville.

Sykes says the air conditioning in his apartment has not been working properly for months. Sometimes it will be on, but the majority of the time, it's off. His thermometer sometimes reads 80 degrees inside.

“I had to literally go down to the car with my wife and my kids and sit in the car with the air just for us to cool off," he said.

“If your AC breaks the first thing you should do is notify your landlord," Ray said. "Give them a call but also notify them in writing, the law requires written notice.”

Sykes has shown WHNT News 19 written documentation addressing the issue with his property management. He says they have sent someone to come "fix" the problem a few times, but the AC always stops working a few hours later.

Ray says if the problem doesn't get fixed, or they're refusing to take the steps to get it done properly, you have a right to break your lease.

"Send them a 14-day written notice saying 'if this isn’t fixed, I’m considering my lease broken and I’m moving on to somewhere else'," Ray said.

Ray acknowledged that moving is an imperfect solution, as a lot of people don't have the resources for a short-notice move. But it also lets your landlord know you’re serious, and you might take legal action if the issue isn’t resolved.

If you find yourself in this situation make sure you’ve made a request in writing, and if the problem persists, contact legal counsel like Legal Services Alabama.