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What can we do if the AC unit in our rental home is making us sick?

Asked by user in Florida.

Our landlord installed a used (un-sanitized) AC unit in our rental home during the height of the pandemic. His band of merry men showed up on Sunday morning to execute the piecemeal installation.

I asked if the unit had been disinfected and cleaned, to which the response was laughter. It took months of the original unit failing multiple times to garner this attention. Since the unit installation (September 2020), we have had unusual chest congestion and lethargy. We live in Florida and use the AC constantly. I change the filter monthly, religiously.

This landlord does not email or text, prefers phone calls only so nothing is in writing.

Answered by Enjuris Editors:

It’s your landlord’s responsibility to maintain a safe living environment for tenants. You’re correct to request cleaning and sanitizing of an AC unit. Aside from risks from the spread of COVID-19, used AC units can also carry mold, mildew, and other biological contaminants that can be distributed into the air you breathe in your home.

If you believe that the AC unit is causing your chest congestion and lethargy, the first step is to have a medical examination to seek a diagnosis for your symptoms. If your doctor makes a diagnosis that is consistent with airborne contamination that could come from an AC unit, you need to provide notice to your landlord immediately in writing.

If you advise the landlord that your physician believes the AC unit is causing you medical distress, the landlord should either clean or replace the unit. If the landlord is unresponsive, contact a landlord/tenant lawyer who can intervene. It’s important that you keep records of your correspondence with the landlord. Ideal correspondence is in writing because that’s easiest to prove, but if you have face-to-face conversations, keep notes of dates, times, and the nature of the conversation.

You’re welcome to use the Florida personal injury law firm directory to find an attorney near you who can assist. Good luck, and I hope you feel better soon.

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