County Council Bill Would Require Landlords to Put Air Conditioning in Units

County Council Bill Would Require Landlords to Put Air Conditioning in Units

Bill is the latest measure aimed at improving life for county’s 300,000 tenants

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A bill introduced Tuesday by Montgomery County Council member Tom Hucker would require all residential landlords in the county to equip their buildings with air conditioning.

The county code currently requires landlords to provide heat, maintain electrical and plumbing systems and provide other basic services. But there is no current requirement that landlords provide air conditioning.

Hucker’s bill, which he introduced at Tuesday’s council meeting, would force landlords to provide either central air conditioning or individual units that keep inside temperatures oto80 degrees or less between May 1 and Sept. 30.

Hucker said during Tuesday’s meeting he has heard stories of residents whose air conditioning is either broken or non-existent, and that one 80-year-old woman he had spoken with freezes water bottles and places them in her lap to stay cool curing the summer months.

“That shouldn’t be happening in 2019 in Montgomery County,” he said.

Hucker noted a woman in Anne Arundel county died last month due to extreme heat. The next six days, he noted, feature forecasts of temperatures reaching 90 degrees or hotter. Temperatures could reach 100 degrees Saturday.

“The hottest weather is in front of us still,” he said.

Hucker’s bill is the latest of a series of bills the council has introduced intended to improve conditions for tenants in the county. Last month, the council approved a bill Hucker sponsored that allows tenants to break their leases if health and safety violations that are not corrected by the landlord within 30 days. The council is also considering another bill, sponsored by council member Will Jawando, that would require landlords to provide tenants with three months’ rent, should they choose to relocate due to unsafe living conditions.

The council is expected to hold a public hearing on the air conditioning bill in September.

Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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