Is our landlord responsible for providing an appropriate unit for our rental home?

UPDATED: Mar 26, 2012

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Is our landlord responsible for providing an appropriate unit for our rental home?

Last summer the A/C had to be replaced by the landlord. However we were told by the technicians the unit was “a piece of junk” and it was too small to cool off our house without running for a long time. It does indeed take a couple of hours to cool off our home which results in extremely high electricity bills, as well as several calls to technicians when the A/C burns out.

Asked on March 26, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A rental premises has to be fit for its intended purpose--i.e. residence. If it is not reasonably habitable, that could be a violation of the implied warrannty of habitability, which requires such fitness for the intended purpose. A violation of this warranty could give the tenant grounds to seek monetary compensation, to require the landlord to correct a condition or problem, or--in more extreme cases--to make the repair him/herself and deduct the cost from rent, or even to terminate the lease without penalty.

However, the issue is "habitability," not "comfort." From what you write, it is very unlikely that a weak A/C is a sufficiently serious an impairmenet of habitability as to render the premises functionally uninhabitable. Issues that merely affect comfort or inconvenience do not violate the warranty of habitabilty; that means that unless your leasee has a provision relating to A/C, which provision the landlord is violation, you most likely do not have any recourse.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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