When you live in a rental home, you'd think that it'd be the responsibility of the landlord to tend to the maintenance and repairs that the home will need over the years. When the air conditioning stops working in a rental, what do you do?
Read the Lease
Did you read through the lease entirely to learn if the landlord has included any clause that releases him from responsibility for repairs to the air conditioning? Does it state that he or she will make necessary repairs? If there is no information specifically stating that the responsibility is the landlord's, the coin could fall either way – if it's a good landlord, the repairs will be taken care of for you – if he or she isn't such a good landlord, you're probably going to be left sweating it out until you pay for the repairs yourself, or you move out.
Know the Law
You can't call the landlord and demand that the AC be fixed if it's not stated in the lease that it will be taken care of, unless state tenancy laws are on your side. You see, not all states have laws that require landlords to provide AC for their tenants – unless the lease specifically states that the unit will have working and fully maintained AC. Now, if the heat wasn't working, or you didn't have any water, then the state could step in and force the landlord to make the repairs. Unfortunately, AC isn't always considered a necessity to live safely in a home – it's a luxury.
Get an Estimate
Lots of HVAC contractors offer a low-cost or free inspection of the system. They will find out why it's not working and provide you with an estimate for the cost of repairs.
Once you have an estimate, it's up to you what to do with it – do you want to foot the bill to get the repairs made on your own? Before you get excited about having air conditioning because you're going to pay for repairs, talk with the landlord. Technically, you cannot pay someone to repair his or her property without permission. Chances are, you won't have a problem getting the OK to pay for repairs on their property, but don't take the chance of him or her getting upset and making your life difficult.
You deserve to be comfortable in your own home, but when it's a rental, you have to rely on another human being to take care of repairs. Hopefully, the above information will help you stay cool when the weather heats up.