If I have paid my rent on time every month and the central air unit has never worked, should I continue to pay rent or what should I do?

UPDATED: May 28, 2012

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If I have paid my rent on time every month and the central air unit has never worked, should I continue to pay rent or what should I do?

The reason given by maintenance is that it is missing. The manager said it was being delivered. Then we were waiting for it to be installed. Now we a have new manager who said he would check in to it. and keeps saying it. We still have no air conditioning. What can we do?

Asked on May 28, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Oklahoma


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you should pay rent; if you do not, you will be in breach of the lease and your obligations as tenant, and the landlord could bring an eviction action against you. While you could attempt to raise the lack of air conditioning as a defense to eviction, claiming a violation by the landlord of the "implied warranty of habitability" (the legal obligation that all rental premises be fit for their intended purpose, such as residence), it is not clear that a lack of A/C is sufficiently serious as to constitute such a breach or violation. If it is not, you would likely be evicted.

The better course of action is to 1) pay rent; 2) document your complaints to the landlord (if you haven't already); and then 3) bring a legal action (lawsuit) of your own seeking a court order directing the landlord to repair the A/C and/or seeking monetary compensation for the time you have been living without A/C.

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