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Are North Carolina landlords required to provide air conditioning?

As hot temperatures continue to blanket the region, some are searching for relief while at home.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Air conditioners across the Carolinas are running full blast this week as the heat wave continues. 

But not everyone has the luxury of an air conditioner where they live.

North Carolina landlords are guided by the law as to what they have to provide when it comes to climate control.

THE QUESTION

Do North Carolina landlords have to provide air conditioning in their units?

OUR SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, North Carolina landlords don't have to provide air conditioning in their units.

WHAT WE FOUND

Decades ago, North Carolina lawmakers dedicated an entire chapter of state law to landlords and tenant obligations, rights, and remedies.

The law outlines landlords must provide "fit and habitable premises."

This means working smoke alarms, safe conditions in all common areas, and working electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling, and ventilating appliances.

But one thing is left out in the law.

"The statutes do not explicitly require a landlord to have or installed any HVAC or air conditioning system," Mumper said. "So it's entirely possible for folks in North Carolina to move into a property without air conditioning, and they have to take that property as it is."

State law only has regulations regarding a unit's heating system. In a section of the code, the landlord has a responsibility to maintain working "heating facilities capable of heating living areas to 65 degrees Fahrenheit when it is 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside from November 1 through March 31."

Mumper said the law was written decades ago and lawmakers haven't been pressed to make changes, such as adding air conditioning to the list of amenities a landlord must provide.

"Tenants always have the right to ask for certain things, whether that be fore new appliances or upgrades," Mumper said. "The landlord, obviously, has a choice."

Mumper suggested if a tenant does not have an HVAC system in their unit and wants one, the tenant should call their landlord and have a discussion about it. Following up with a written request is also wise, Mumper said.

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