Broken AC unit: Whose responsibility is that? - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Broken AC unit: Whose responsibility is that?


It's hard to imagine spending these hot, humid summer days without air conditioning. So what happens when your AC unit breaks, and your landlord is not fixing it?

"Landlords are primarily responsible for major systems," explained Brad Dodds with Day and Dodds law firm. "They are responsible for roof leaks, leaks around window frames, gas leaks and air conditioning system. However, the specifics for what the landlords are actually responsible for are primarily going to be stated in the contract."

Dodds said it's hard to determine what needs to be done, and what can be done in many case, depending on what's stated in that contract. So the requests for repairs need to be always done in writing.

"This is so that you have a list of items you've asked for the repair to be made," Dodds said. "If the repair is not made, then you have a paper trail to present in court."

Mary Goodwin, District Manager of Greystone Properties, also agrees that tenants place their requests for repairs in writing. She has seen multiple requests on broken AC units being made this summer, and Goodwin said it's important to find out who and what caused damages to the systems before determining who pays for them.

"Anything that the renters damage would be their responsibility to fix," Goodwin said. "The landlord can go ahead and repair them, and then charge the residents later. Often times, we get multiple requests every week. We can't fix these problems right away. There might be some parts that are missing in the storage and ordering them could take some time. However, we promise to do them in timely manner and notify the renters when their system should be fixed. We also have emergency technician if you need someone to help you after office hours."

Goodwin said if renters are living under dangerous conditions, and their proper needs are not being met, renters can always report the issue to the government agencies and offices that deal with inspection and code enforcement.

"It it's something that becomes a health issue, then renters can report that issue to the government agency, and have them investigate if it's that severe," Goodwin said.

Dodds and Goodwin both said that even if the landlord is not doing this part, renters and tenants are still obligated to pay rent. Refusing to do so when a repair has not been made can cause problems for them when filing law suit or trying to move into another complex.

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