Your HVAC system provides Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning to your rental unit, but only the Heat is essential as far as your landlord is concerned. Though we live in Florida, your renters’ rights do not extend to Air Conditioning.
Defense attorneys have a term for landlords who shut off the heat on a tenant…that term is called payday. A landlord who tries to evict by changing the locks or shutting off utilities on a tenant could be liable for damages or 3 months’ rent (whichever is greater). However, Florida tenants are not entitled to live in rental units with working air conditioning.
If you have a problem with your heating, ventilating, and/or air conditioning (HVAC) system, talk to your landlord. If that does not help, follow proper legal procedures to lodge a complaint, and make sure your rent is paid up, even if you are paying it to the registry of the court. For more information on renters’ rights, contact Legal Aid for help at http://www.jaxlegalaid.org/stjohns.html. Even if you do not qualify, they offer free pamphlets on landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities.