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Can my building make me pay for expensive air conditioner installation?

By Virginia K. Smith  | June 12, 2017 - 12:30PM

Q: My building is requiring us to hire a professional with a Certificate of Insurance to install our air conditioner unit, although in the past we've been allowed to do it ourselves. Is this legal, or necessary? Also, does the building need to provide us with brackets, and is there a cheaper way to go about this in general?

Unfortunately, you'll probably have to comply with your building's request and shell out the cash if you want to stay cool this summer, say our experts.

"It's good practice to require that only qualified professionals install window air conditioning units and that these professionals both produce insurance certificates (naming the owner of the building and its managing agent) and be made to execute an indemnity agreement, which would tie the contractor's insurance to the building owner in case of a casualty," says Jeff Reich, a real estate attorney with SSRGA.

It might seem over the top to you, but the risk of a poorly installed air conditioner falling and injuring a pedestrian below is understandably not one that your building's management wants to take. Additionally, as we've written previously, they are also within their rights to insist that you use brackets to support your air conditioner, and that you pay for them yourselves.

"Property owners are not required to provide tenants with brackets or any other equipment relating to the insallation of any air conditioner equipment," says Reich, unless your lease or building bylaws specifically state otherwise.

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