Can landlords ban window air conditioners?

Can landlords ban window air conditioners? »Play Video

GRESHAM, Ore. – Amanda Heckel would rather stand outside her Gresham apartment in the shade than sweat it out inside.

She sent her five-year-old son Mario to stay with is grandmother to get away from the heat. Mario got sick last week and ended up in the emergency room, she said.

“He was lying there, not knowing what was going on, almost delusional to everything,” Heckel said.

Heckel’s landlord doesn’t allow window air conditioners, and she says her family is suffering because of it. KATU went to Heckel’s leasing office, but it was closed on Monday.

“I think it’s kind of ridiculous,” she said. “I mean, we should be able to cool our house and our families how we need to. I mean, they don’t have to pay our bill. We pay it.”

So why would landlords say no to window units?

Attorney Tim Murphy says there’s no law requiring landlords to have air conditioning, and it’s very common for them to have rental agreements that don’t allow window units. If you sign a rental agreement that prohibits window units, you can’t put one in.

He says one big problem is liability. If you install your air conditioner incorrectly and it falls on someone, the landlord could be responsible. Landlords also want to save on energy costs, Murphy said. Damage to the building is an issue as well, he said, because as tenants move in and out, the units move in and out of the windows.

What can you do about it? Murphy suggests the following options:

  • Make a medical request to your landlord if the excessive heat is dangerous to your health.
  • Offer to pay for renters’ insurance to cover the damages if the window unit falls out.
  • Move somewhere that allows window units.