Q: If our landlord is taking a long time to repair the air conditioning, do we have any legal recourse?
We have been without AC for 2 weeks, and have a toddler and 70 lb dog living in the home. Due to the current situation in the outside world, we can't really go anywhere to escape the heat during the day. It is 84 degrees in all the bedrooms. The landlord told us that we could break lease without penalty, but are our options really only to move or be hot for an indefinite amount of time?
A: AC is a necessity in a residential lease. The Landlord has a legal obligation to make sure the AC is working. If the AC is not working in hot weather, you should call the Office of Housing Code Enforcement for the county/city where the premises is located and make a formal complaint. An Inspector should come out and if the AC is not working, the Inspector will cite the Landlord with a Notice of Violation to make repairs to the AC unit. The other way to handle this is to file a Tenants Assertion in the Courts, however, the Courts in most of Virginia are closed now because of he Covid-19 crisis.
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