8 on Your Side: Renters' rights during AC malfunctions - 8 News NOW

8 on Your Side: Renters' rights during AC malfunctions

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LAS VEGAS - Every summer, the 8 on Your Side hotline is inundated with calls from renters about air conditioning problems and landlords who allegedly won't fix them.

First, know your legal rights as a renter. If the air conditioning goes out in your apartment or rental, you must notify the landlord in writing by certified mail. The landlord then has 48 hours to respond.

This does not include weekends and holidays. If you write your landlord on a Thursday, and he or she receives the letter Friday, by law, the landlord does not have to respond until Tuesday.

If your landlord doesn't act in time, you have options.

“You can start withholding rent, but you can only withhold rent if you are current,” said Jim Berchtold with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.

You can also check into a hotel. If the hotel costs more than your rent, you can sue your landlord for the difference.

Another option is to buy floor fans or a window air conditioning unit and deduct the cost from your rent. Keep your receipts though, because your landlord could take you to court.

You can also sue your landlord outright.

You can't do any of this, however, if you don't first send the letter. A call doesn't count and neither does a personal visit to the landlord's office.

Most renters’ options involve the court system, and many air conditioning battles are considered civil matters. Few other options exist.

If you have written your landlord by certified mail and have not gotten help, 8 on Your Side will fight for you. Call the hotline at 702-650-1907.

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