Is it legal for a tenat to hire someone to fix the A/C unit and have them bill landlord?

I am renting a house and have 2 small children under 3 years old. Yesterday morning out A/C unit broke. I have been trying to reach him since with no reply. Is it legal to hire someone myself to fix this then bill him or do I need to reach him first? How long do I need to wait before this is considered an emergency?

Asked on September 1, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of most states in this country, a tenant can only use self help to repair an item in the rented property where after a reasonable time period of being advised of the problem the landlord fails to undertake corrective measures.

What constitutes a reasonable time period depends upon the circumstances needing correction and the location of the landlord. In your situation, you should call the landlord and follow up with a letter/e mail about the situation giving him two (2) days to come out and start the necessary repairs mentioning this issues of the heat and minor children. Keep copies of the correspondence for future need.

Mention in the written correspondence that if repairs are not started in the requested time period, you will pay to have the repairs done yourself and will deduct the costs of such from the following month's rental check with a copy of the sent invoice.

Good luck.


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