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An Argument for Air-Conditioning

posted Jul 19, 2013, 12:45 PM by Alex Wainberg
Our Twin Cities Fox News affiliate recently posed an interesting question: In Minnesota, since we have a "cold weather rule" (landlords cannot cut off heat during the winter) , should we have a corresponding "warm weather rule"? 

Rather than not cutting off air-conditioning, the idea in the article is whether landlords should be required to provide air-conditioning.  While it is true that there is nothing under current Minnesota statutes to specifically require it, I believe that there is a strong argument to be made that the implied covenant of habitability requires air conditioning when temperatures reach a certain level or when the landlord knows or should have known that a tenant is particularly susceptible to heat stroke (e.g. infants and the elderly).  It would be a hard argument to win, and I am not aware of any solid precedent to point to, but  just as central heat and plumbing once weren't standard and later became that way, once could argue that air-conditioning has reached that level (it's been standard in cars for decades).

The article does correctly point out that if a landlord has placed an air-conditioner in your apartment, then they are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance.  It should be noted that this applies to central-air as well.