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Ask an Expert: My landlord is an a/c control freak

By Teri Karush Rogers | October 12, 2010 - 6:18AM 

Q. I live in a rental where the electricity is paid by my landlord. I just received a notice that says tenants are not allowed to use window air conditioners until May 31st, the end of "heat season," or we will be fined $50 per occurrence. Is that even legal? Ninety degree days in October or May or even April are not unheard of.

A. Several of our experts emailed us back immediately to say this is one of the craziest examples of creative landlording that they’ve ever heard.

“It’s ridiculous and unenforceable,” says property manager Paul Gottsegen. If you don’t pay the fine and the landlord sues you to try to collect, “the judge will laugh him out of court. The landlord can’t create his own DHCR [Division of Housing and Community Renewal] rules.”

Real estate lawyer Cory Weiss concurs: “I am not aware of any legal restriction on a tenant’s use of a window air conditioner at any time of the year. I would suggest asking the landlord to please provide the legal authority for asking for such a restriction.”

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