Is Your Landlord Required to Provide You with Air Conditioning in Massachusetts?
The temperatures are going to be hot in Berkshire County this weekend, and I’m guessing many people will be setting up their air conditioners for the first time this year. I know we had some scorching hot days in May, but I know a lot of stubborn people here in the Berkshires that won’t take out their AC until June.
Now, if you own a home, obviously it’s up to you whether or not you have an air conditioning unit (or two). I actually dug both of mine out in May and set them up, because I’m not one of those stubborn Berkshire County people that will wait until June. Once it gets hot, the air conditioners are going back in the windows.
However, what if you rent a home? In Massachusetts, does your landlord have to provide you with air conditioning?
The short answer is no.
The longer answer is this: According to the Massachusetts State Sanitary Code Chapter II, a landlord must provide a tenant with heat, hot water, and electricity. Those are necessary standards to live. Air conditioning is not, hence, your landlord doesn’t have to provide you with air conditioning.
You can find more information about it here.
Now…what about if you live in an apartment building here in Massachusetts with an HVAC system? Technically speaking, the same rules apply, but most apartment complexes will have some sort of air conditioning system that runs during the summer. That said, you still may not have AC in early to mid June...
…Because landlords are required to provide heat from September 15th through June 15th. What that means is if we have sweltering days like this past May, you may not get AC in your apartment because the heat has to stay on, and many apartment buildings can only run heat or air conditioning one at a time. There are exceptions to this rule, but by and large, you’ll find the heat on during those dates.
As temperatures get warmer year after year here in New England, I think these regulations have to be looked at again, because some days it’s almost impossible to function in the heat, especially for the sick or elderly.
All that said, be smart in the heat this weekend, and temperatures will become seasonal again on Monday.