While Florida winters sometimes get chilly, summers in the aptly named Sunshine State are downright fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk sweltering. But oddly, current state law mandates landlords provide tenants with heaters, not air conditioning.
New legislation from Rep. Michael Grieco of Miami Beach and Sen. Jason Pizzo aims to change that bizarre oversight.
Grieco and Pizzo, both Democrats, filed twin bills Thursday to require landlords throughout the state to include air conditioning as a required amenity along with functioning facilities for heat, running water and hot water.
The legislation is about as to-the-point as possible, adding just “air-conditioning” to Florida’s existing list of landlord obligations.
“I find it ironic that the state responsible for the invention of the air conditioner does not protect tenants from the heat by requiring landlords to provide AC,” Grieco said in a statement. “When I mention to folks that Florida law requires renters have heat but not air conditioning I see looks of confusion in response. Arizona requires AC, and Florida should too. In a world of no-brainer bills I would put this one toward the top of the pile.”
Pizzo added: “It is completely reasonable for tenants to request and require AC.”
Florida Politics was the first to report on Grieco’s plan to file air conditioning legislation this Session.
Greico said at the time he “almost fell over” when he found out about the lack of air conditioning requirements for landlords in Florida statutes.
He said he hoped the bill he planned to proffer would receive bipartisan support, but wasn’t sure it would, considering the political climate.
“I don’t know the legislative history behind this law,” he said. “It’ll be interesting if there’s push back after I file the bill and where it comes from — if there’s some organized opposition to it from landlords, because tenants generally don’t have organized support or oppositional defense. It may also not be consistent with the controlling party’s anti-regulation/deregulation of the state. I think it’s kind of an easy one, but we’ll see if they’re willing to run it.”
Florida Statute provides that landlords must comply with building, housing and health codes. They must maintain to “good repair” roofs, windows, screens, doors, floors, steps, porches, exterior walls, foundations and “all other structural components” to resist normal forces and loads. Similarly, plumbing must be kept in “reasonable working condition.”
Based on whether the property is an apartment, duplex, single-family home or mobile home, landlords must also “make reasonable provisions” for locks, keys, clean and safe common areas, outside trash receptacles, garbage removal, smoke detectors, running water, hot water, the extermination of pests and working heating facilities.
The only mention of air conditioning in the statute, which spans 27 printable pages, requires tenants to “use and operate in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances, including elevators.”