WSVN — As you sit and watch my smiling face, imagine that instead of being in a nice cool room, it's 90 degrees, you are sweating and your landlord won't fix the broken air conditioner, bringing up the question. Does a landlord have to provide a working air conditioner? It's why one woman called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
If you have been lucky enough to have a child, you know how Ideliris' life changed when her little boy came home.
Ideliris Almaraz: "Everyday is something new. He is making new faces, doing new movements, new everything."
With the child, Ideliris and her boyfriend needed their own place and found a rental at Waterview Condominiums.
Ideliris Almaraz: "It came out to be very nice. I wasn't expecting something really good as this. Really happy."
When they moved in, the unit was hot inside, but the woman who showed them around said the air conditioner was working fine.
Ideliris Almaraz: "It's been off for a while. Takes a while to cool so just give it some time."
But that night it did not cool off. The next day the thermostat showed it was a steamy 89 degrees. The management company sent out a repairman.
Ideliris Almaraz: "He was here for three days, three consecutive days and his reaction was, 'this is a tough job. This is going to take some time to fix.'"
Day after day it was hot and miserable. The next week the technician figured it out.
Ideliris Almaraz: "And put the piece in and it was actually working. It worked for a week, after that, it turned off and it never worked again."
Back to 89 degrees in the daytime. Sweating all the time, day after day. Ideliris had to send her baby to her mothers for his safety.
Ideliris Almaraz: "I feel terrible. I feel like I'm hopeless right now. I feel bad for my son that he is going through this."
They talked to the technician again. He had given up.
Ideliris Almaraz: "He told my boyfriend … what he told him was that you guys need a new unit. Basically replace the entire A/C."
Ideliris tried to get in touch with the property manager who rented them the condo. They wouldn't help, leaving Ideliris steaming. Literally and figuratively.
Ideliris Almaraz: "The day I moved in I was happy, the happiest person. Now I don't even want to be in here. When I get out of work, I don't look forward to coming home."
Well Howard, does a landlord have to provide a working air conditioner?
Howard Finkelstein: "No. While many states require apartments to have air conditioning, the state of Florida does not. However, most leases like this one, state the landlord will provide a working air conditioner. They are not, meaning the tenant can give the landlord seven days to fix the problem. If they can't, they can break the lease, move out and get their security deposit back."
After we started doing a little digging, we discovered why it was so tough for Ideliris to get to the person who controlled the condo. It was in receivership, taken over by the condo association after the unit owner didn't pay his monthly maintenance fees. We then contacted the attorney for the management company. Ronald Strauss didn't know about the broken air conditioner. He quickly took care of it and a new air conditioner was installed in the unit.
Ideliris is now cooling off.
Howard Finkelstein: "Check your lease. Make sure it says the landlord will make sure the air conditioner works. If it's not in the lease, get it written in there because 90 degrees in an apartment is a nightmare no-one wants to have to endure."
Ideliris Almaraz: "I am very happy that I called Help Me Howard."
Ideliris' apartment went from 89 degrees to 70 degrees and she and her baby are finally comfortable in their new place.
Ideliris Almaraz: "It feels great. The first time we slept with A/C here and it feels awesome."
Patrick Fraser: "From 89 degrees to 70 degrees, that's a little bit better. Now, if you have a broken air conditioner and a phone call to the landlord doesn't work, send an email to document the problem. If that doesn't work, send that seven day letter and start looking for a new place 'cause nobody and I mean nobody in South Florida should live in a 90 degree apartment. It's unbearable and it's not healthy."
A frosty relationship with someone left you steaming? Wanna cool things off? Don't sweat it. Contact us. We will try to turn the heat up on them, in a nice way of course.
With this Help Me Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser, 7News.
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E-mail: helpmeHoward@wsvn.com (please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at email@example.com