June 13, 2022
Tenant AC Rights in Portland, OR

Updated: June 2024

On hot days during the summer, many renters head to the neighborhood pool to swim with relatives and friends or go out for ice cream. After cooling down, these individuals simply want to return to a comfortable living environment. What they probably don’t want to come home to, though, is a home without any air conditioning at all. If that’s the case, they might wonder how long their landlord can leave them without air conditioning. The answer depends upon whether or not an air conditioning unit is already installed in the apartment or rental home.

Get Broken Units Repaired

If your landlord is already providing you with air conditioning, you can get the cooling repairs taken care of. Keep in mind that as a tenant, you are required to send a written request to your landlord. According to Oregon Habitability Laws, the repairs must then be completed within 30 days. If your landlord is unresponsive to your request, you should consult a lawyer. However, the situation is different if you are looking to have an air conditioning unit installed where one does not currently exist.

Review Your Rental Agreement

Start by reviewing your rental agreement. Your landlord may have already provided information that answers your question about the air conditioning system. Some landlords will indicate that they are not responsible for air conditioning, and others will indicate that a unit will be installed within a certain period of time. If the landlord is giving you a difficult time about installing the system, you may need to offer a reminder of what is written in the agreement, though Oregon law may take precedence over your lease.

Understand Oregon Law

If information about the air conditioning system isn’t written into your rental agreement, you are then likely wondering what the law is regarding this issue. In Oregon, there is no legal requirement that landlords provide their tenants with air conditioning. As a result, landlords can essentially permanently leave their tenants without air conditioning if a unit isn’t already in place. According to the Oregon State Bar, the requirement is that a rental space be habitable, which may not include air conditioning.

Ask to Install a Window Unit

One potentially simple solution is to ask your landlord if you can purchase and install a window unit. Of course, the building or house’s electrical system needs to be able to handle the additional usage, so your landlord might have to decline your request. Of course, this option also means that you would have to spend the money for the unit and installation. If your landlord agrees, consider working with a lawyer to develop a written contract that allows you to take the air conditioner in the event that you move out.

Pursue Legal Options

Even though Oregon does not have a law requiring landlords to provide tenants with air conditioning, you still have may some hope. Since the Oregon State Bar indicates that rental spaces must be habitable, you could make the case that your dwelling is uninhabitable due to the heat. For example, you might live on the fourth floor of an apartment building, and your unit might get sunlight for many hours per day. As a result, the dwelling gets terribly hot. You might have a case that due to the sweltering temperatures, the space is uninhabitable. Speak with a lawyer to see if you can pursue legal options.

Put Together a Case

Remember that there is no specified period of time in which your landlord has to provide you with air conditioning based on Oregon law. If you’re pursuing a legal case, your goal is to get air conditioning installed for your rental. Keep in mind that if you win the case, you might still have to pay for the unit and installation. Gather any information necessary to make a solid case. For example, your doctor might provide documentation that due to certain medical conditions, you must have air conditioning in your dwelling. Also, conduct research on the changing climate of Oregon. The temperature in the summers has risen in past years, and there have been discussions about changing the law to require landlords to provide air conditioning.

We can provide installation services for air conditioning units at your rental property. Additionally, we can repair issues with current units. Our professionals also specialize in working with heating and cooling systems for both residential and commercial properties. Contact Climate Control in Portland to learn more information and to get started on the journey toward a more comfortable living space today.

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