Renter seeking reduced rent

22 Replies

I have a tenant in Maryland in one of my condos that the air conditioning is being turned over but not yet on. Due to the heat they noted they had to stay in a hotel and want to get reduced rent.

It's my understanding this is not a means to get rent reduced (if no power or hot water that is).

Curious if anyone else has had this issue and how they resolved it.

That's a habitability issue if it's really too hot. You might legally be on the hook for reasonable costs associated with habitability issues like lack of water, electricity, heating, or cooling where conditions mandate it.

Is the a.c. broken, or is it one of those old buildings that only has heat part of the year and a.c. the other part. If it's the latter, that's just the way the building was built. If they want to pay a higher rent then they can move into a newer building.

@Chris Seveney no, not usually at this time of year unless someone in the household has some sort or ailment! Heat in winter -yes

In Florida (summertime), I completely understand! I would not be able to stay in my house either. It's all about working together for a resolution. 

I have used this old line in the past; do you think the mortgage company will give me a reduction in my payment? No, things happen and we must work together to get them taken care of as soon as possible 

@Russell Brazil
It's both, it's a 2 pipe system that has AC or heating. They were to turn it on this week but it was malfunctioning and being repaired. Based on my past experience habitability is only a hot water and heating. AC is not a habitability issue since some properties don't provide AC

There have been a time or two where tenants have not had access to central air when their units needed to be replaced. If these units needed to be replaced they would, invariably, go belly up in the middle of our southern summers.  Last year we replaced one HVAC unit in July, one in August.

We did not put our tenants up in hotels nor provide a reduction in rent.  We do keep extra window units on hand for use in such emergency situations such as these.    We hauled these to the houses for the emergency use during the 2 or 3 days the tenants were without central air.   Tenants were reasonable regarding this issue.

It might be useful to keep a few window shakers on hand for such issues.  They typically run around $100 - $140 for a 5000 BTU window unit.  We'll usually put them in a tenants bedroom.


When I've encountered this problem, I have offered a temporary replacement like a box fan and a credit for the following month's rent or a gift card.

I will get it fixed ASAP as someone can sue you that they need to have a/c on for medical reason. You should anticipate further excuses they use.  I know the going rates if they complain I will permit them to look elsewhere.

Your tenants have a severe scenes of over entitlement. Mom and Dad did not teach them well and now it falls upon society to do the teaching.

No is the appropriate response to their request and additionally I would offer to allow them out of their lease. Best to rid yourself of them before it gets worse.

Originally posted by @Thomas S. :

Your tenants have a severe scenes of over entitlement. Mom and Dad did not teach them well and now it falls upon society to do the teaching.

No is the appropriate response to their request and additionally I would offer to allow them out of their lease. Best to rid yourself of them before it gets worse.

 I too often feel entitled to things that I pay for (such as A/C) when living in an apartment.  As a landlord, you don't have to provide A/C legally (and your tenants may look elsewhere).  However, I would expect that you keep everything that you do provide (including A/C) in reasonable working condition during the seasons when it's used.  It was in the high 80s / low 90s in Baltimore this past week.  That's A/C weather.  If I wanted to live in an apartment that didn't have A/C I'd rent one of those and buy my own window units.

If you supplied it as part of the terms to the lease, in baltimore city, and now do not....any judge is going to rule a reduction in rent is warranted. Did they have to move??? Debatable, probably not.
Do they have a legit claim if its out for a day or 2??
A couple weeks??

They are paying you rent based on having central ac. They don't now and its not there fault, = some reduction is warranted, however, they can take that hotel bs and stick it. A hundred dollar window unit would've sufficed (and you should've supplied it initially to a avoid this situation)

I did have a tenant where the A/C went out in August (and in Mississippi).  I did credit her the rent while it was out because without A/C in August, it's unlivable.  It all depends on the conditions I guess, but if it was only a week or two, I'd prorate the rent and move on.  Not worth fighting over a few hundred bucks.

in maryland heat is a right.  AC IS NOT A RIGHT.  Its on them.  If they have a good payment history you might want to fix it to keep good telations but no rent reduction.  If it takes a while maybe let them break a lease but if its just a week or 2 no way.

@Account Closed
This is a building which is a 2 pipe system in a 60 unit building. I do not control the AC. My convectors work fine, the issue is the property management team has yet to turn it over from heating to cooling on the central systemZ

They tried last week but they had some issues. I know in DC similar buildings have till June 1st

My experience has been may 15th is typically the cutoff date, but I was curious as to people's experiences.

@Chris Seveney ,

Did you authorize and agree for them to stay in the hotel?    It's my understanding that heat is required, but AC isn't.       As long as you or the PM explained the issue, and roughly how long it will be, I don't see any reason for reduced rent.  Is it a luxury condo on the higher end, or a more economical option?   Depending on the condo, if the rent is high enough where they have ample options to move,  it might be worth it to credit them back $100 or so.   If it's a lower end condo, the expectations are probably different, and you may suggest a backup window unit in the future?    It was their choice to go to the hotel.    

We had a similar issue last summer with the AC not working, and in the meantime we let them borrow some window units until it got fixed. 

1) Rental insurance generally covers loss of use, that is why it exists. They should file a claim with their insurance provider.

2) If they choose to go to a hotel without calling you or giving you an opportunity to rectify a situation it is on them. Allowing tenants to take action and then be retroactively refunded is a bad habit to get into.

3) If you do give them a refund as suggested by many, expect that next year every single person in that building will be in a hotel before you turn it over. Tenants talk and word that they can stay in a hotel in April because it is warm will flow like wildfire.

Good Luck!

"I too often feel entitled to things that I pay for (such as A/C)"

Landlords are required to repair/address issues in a reasonable amount of time. They are not required to compensate tenants for every second it takes to get repairs completed. It is understood things take time and tenants, like real people, have a responsibility to be patient. The landlord gives notice repairs will be completed and is allowed a reasonable amount of time to repair. If a tenant is upset they may take a landlord to court to determine if a reasonable amount of time was taken to correct the situation. In most cases when a landlord takes immediate action, consideration being given to have contractors do repairs, a tenant is entitled to no compensation.   

What is lack of AC worth for a day ?

Suppose rent is 1K per month = $33/day

Assume they are away 8 hr/day = $33 - $11 = $22

Rent covers more that AC and we will assume all else is functioning in the unit.

AC = 1/10 of rental value = $22 / 10 = $2.20

Your tenant should be entitled to a rebate of $2.20/day if a rebate were legally due. If he is a really good tenant he will expect nothing, if he is a entitled A hole give him a $5 to shut him up and consider not renewing his lease. 

A hotel room.....tell them to pound s...

if its a day of turn on issue, just turn it on earlier....problem solved. if you have heat, and its not on and in your control to do so, then you haven't supplied heat. unless this is specific in your lease as to timing of heat and cooling turn on, and agreed to by all may have an issue if its necessary to be on. Depends on your lease. What I can tell you is that if it snows in September, and the heat isn't on, despite that October 15th understanding, the landlord will have a problem.

@Account Closed
I don't think you understand / it is a 60 unit building that has a central plant. It's not like you can just switch on and off a system. It is not driven by what is in the unit it is based on the condo docs and rules and regs.

In DC similar buildings are not required to provide AC until June 1st.