The Montgomery County Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill requiring landlords to provide air conditioning each year from June 1 to Sept. 30.
The bill, sponsored by Council Member Tom Hucker, requires landlords to maintain air conditioning that cools a home to 80 degrees or less.
The requirement would not apply to detached single-family homes or historic properties. It does apply to attached single-family homes.
Hucker originally introduced the bill in July. The start date for the requirement was going to be May 1, but it was amended during council committee hearings.
Hucker introduced the bill last year to protect residents without air conditioning from the heat during summer months.
The council on Tuesday voted to strike an amendment that would have allowed landlords to opt out of the air conditioning requirement. In its place, it approved an amendment that would allow landlords to apply for a reprieve of up to six months from the air conditioning requirement if the county’s director of housing and community affairs determined that electrical upgrades were needed.
The original opt-out amendment, Hucker said on Tuesday, was “overly broad.”
Council members were generally supportive of the bill on Tuesday, but Evan Glass said he worries about the additional costs tenants might bear by using air conditioning units.
Glass added that the larger issue is global warming.
“It’s important to keep in mind that this legislation is not a panacea for the issue at heart here, which is climate change,” he said.
Dan Schere can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org