Summer is right around the corner, and New York State residents are getting ready. 

With temperatures rising throughout New York State this week, we’re bracing ourselves for the hot and sticky weather that comes with it. Rather than sweating it out, those lucky enough to have air conditioning may decide to blast that cool air to avoid melting this week. 

But if you’re a renter in New York State, your access to a/c could be hit or miss, depending on what your landlord allows. 

If you’re a renter who doesn’t have an air conditioning unit or central air, is your landlord required to provide it for you on sweltering days here in the Empire State?

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Your Rights As A Renter In New York State

When renting an apartment, you’re entitled to several things to protect you after you sign your lease. 

The biggest thing here in New York state is the right to have heat in your apartment during the winter months. According to New York’s Tenant’s Rights Guide put out by the NY Attorney General, 

“Heat must be supplied from October 1 through May 31 to tenants in multiple dwellings.”

If the outdoor temperature falls below 55°F between the hours of six a.m. and ten p.m., landlords must make sure that units are heated to at least 68°F. If it falls below 40°F between 10 pm and 6 am, apartments have to be at least 55°F.

Renters also have the right to see the apartment’s past two years’ worth of heating bills. It’s worth checking out before you sign your lease, so you’ll gauge how to budget appropriately. 

Are Landlords Required To Provide Air-Conditioning In New York State?

As for air conditioning in the hot summer months, that can be a little tricky.

If your unit had a working A/C until or central air when it was originally leased to you, the landlord is technically required to fix it. As explained by landlord and tenant attorney Matthew S. Chase in a response to a post on,

 “In essence, you have the right to the premises as when it was leased to you, that is, with all the amenities as when it was shown to you. If they refuse the repair of the central A/C, you can be released from the lease.”

Before you move into a unit with air conditioning, it’s recommended that you ask the landlord to provide a clause in your lease with a procedure to follow in case it stops working or needs repairs.

The Good And Bad News For Renters In New York State

Unfortunately for hot New York residents with a lease, the state doesn’t consider air-conditioning to be a “necessity” for renters, and there’s no requirement that a landlord provides one in hot weather.

However, you can take matters into your own hands and purchase a window unit or other air conditioner if you choose. (There are some catches though, depending on if you pay your own electricity bill or if your landlord does.)

If you use a service like National Grid or another utility company to personally pay your electric bill, and you purchase an air conditioner that’s a window unit, your landlord may collect a $5 per-month charge for each until that extends outside the window line, and you can’t remove it until your landlord gives you the ok.

If your landlord pays your electric bill, your landlord may charge you a surcharge for the use of electricity that the air conditioner uses. For more info, click here

What To Do As A Renter Before It Gets Too Hot

Before it gets even hotter here in New York and temperatures soar into the 90’s (or *gulp* triple digits), you should have a chat with your landlord to see what you can and can’t do in your apartment to stay cool.

After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

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