What are a renter’s rights if they can’t run enough air conditioners to keep their house cool?

We have a 3 bedroom house; 3 rooms are wired to 1 circuit. Every time we have a day that we have 90 degree weather we blow 5-6 fuses on that day. We can’t watch TV and have more than the 1 air conditioner. It will get up to 97 degrees in the house on those days. His reply to us was “you leave the lights on to much”. I was just wondering if there was something I can do? We have 5 children so it gets miserable here. Could I break the lease legally and not have to pay alot of money?

Asked on July 17, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It would be difficult to safely terminate or break your lease under the circumstances you write about. All rentals come with what's known as the "implied warranty of habitability," or the obligation that the landlord provide a rental fit for its intended purposes--in this case, residence. Conditions which make the the premises uninhabitable can breach this warranty and provide grounds to terminate the lease without penalty (assuming you've first given the landlord written notice of the problem and a chance to "cure," or correct, it).

However, conditions that "merely" affect comfort or are inconveniences would not violate the warranty. The issue is, if you could run another air conditioner or air conditioners if you did not have the television (or other appliances) on, then this may not be considered a habitability issue--you could alleviate the temperature by simply not using the TV or the other appliances during the hottest parts of the day. If that's the case, you likely could not safely break the lease.

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