Unique Heating and Air Conditioning Laws for Landlords in the D.C. Area

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Landlords must understand their responsibilities regarding heating and air conditioning in the units they own. You don’t want your tenants going without a service they’re legally entitled to because you could face fines and other legal consequences for anything you overlook.

Unique laws throughout the Washington, D.C., area outline your obligations to your renters as a property owner. It’s your duty to protect your tenants from any weather-related dangers in and around D.C., which typically means you have to keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

The laws you have to follow come down to the property’s location in the D.C. area, but other factors could be at play. This guide examines apartment air conditioning laws and heating rules in Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, and Maryland.

What Determines a Tenant’s Access to Heating and Air Conditioning

Various factors define the laws a landlord must follow relating to heating and air conditioning. Understanding your duty to your tenants can help ensure you don’t overlook anything. The following elements specify your obligations:

Local Laws

Washington, D.C., Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, and the state of Virginia have different apartment air conditioning and heating laws. Most of these laws have to do with heating and the landlord’s duty to provide a warm house to their tenants in the winter, and some rules cover cooling as well. Landlords must follow the local rules in the community in which they own a rental property to keep themselves out of trouble.

Your Lease

A lease could include explicit language regarding air conditioning that a landlord must follow. There are specific laws in D.C. pertaining to leases with an air conditioning stipulation, as the landlord must keep the inside temperature at least 15 degrees cooler than outside. Landlords are also responsible for having the air conditioning system inspected every year between Sept. 1 and May 1 and filing these inspection results with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs within seven days of completion.

The Landlord

Some landlords provide tenants with control over the building’s or unit’s temperature throughout the year. Other property owners will turn off the furnace in the summer and the air conditioning in the winter, only restoring these services when absolutely necessary. These decisions are often at the landlord’s discretion, as the laws only force the property owner to keep the temperatures at a certain level in specific months of the year.

The laws regarding heating and air conditioning in the D.C. area aren’t necessarily complicated, but it’s critical that landlords learn about tenant rights. Failing to meet their end of the agreement could leave landlords with a Notice of Violation or possible penalties.

Four Locations With Air Conditioning Laws

The various jurisdictions around the D.C. area have different rules and laws regarding heating and cooling. All of these laws are relatively simple, but knowing your job helps you avoid potential problems with your tenants. Four locations with specific laws are the following:

1. Washington, D.C.

Landlords in Washington, D.C., must keep all habitable rooms within a home or apartment at temperatures of at least 68 degrees between Oct. 1 and May 1. Properties with a system that requires more than 15 days to transition from air conditioning to heat will have until Oct. 15 to reach that temperature but must maintain it until May 1. The 68-degree temperature law is only in effect between 6:30 a.m. and 11 p.m. as the minimum temperature is permitted to fall to 65 degrees during the night.

2. Montgomery County

The laws in Montgomery County call for the landlord to keep every habitable room at a temperature of at least 68 degrees when the tenant doesn’t have control of the thermostat. Scenarios where the tenant does have control of the temperature require the landlord to keep the equipment in working order so the tenant can keep the temperature at 68 degrees. Habitable spaces in Montgomery County include the bathroom and water closet.

3. Prince George’s County

The laws in Prince George’s County are a bit stricter, as landlords must keep all inhabitable rooms, bathrooms, and toilet rooms at a temperature of no less than 70 degrees between Sept. 15 and May 15. Dwellings that give tenants control over the thermostat must have the equipment in working order during those months so residents can keep the unit at least 70 degrees. Prince George’s County’s Department of Permitting Inspections and Enforcement responds to any violations of this code.

4. All of Virginia

Fairfax, Arlington, and Loudoun counties follow Virginia’s statewide regulations regarding the temperatures in rental units. These laws state that every landlord must keep a tenant’s rental unit at a temperature of at least 68 degrees between Oct. 15 and May 1. The county in which the property sits will respond to any violations, despite the regulations coming from a state level.

The D.C. area doesn’t have any laws specific to air conditioning, so the landlord is only obligated to provide cooling services if it’s part of the lease agreement. Washington, D.C., landlords do, however, have to install screens in all doors and windows between March 15 and Nov. 15 of every year. They also have to ensure these screens are free from holes and that screen doors have hinges allowing them to open outward and self-close.

Understanding Your Obligations as a Landlord

Purchasing a rental property in the D.C. area can be lucrative, but there are many laws you’ll have to understand as you begin. These laws protect your tenants’ rights but can put you in a challenging situation as you attempt to remember your obligations and the deadlines you must meet. Trusting a property manager to assist with your rental units can ensure you never miss an important date, helping you avoid code violations and fines.

Nomadic Real Estate offers property management services in the metro D.C. area. Our team will ensure that your tenants have heat when you’re legally obligated to provide it and will guarantee you meet any air conditioning stipulations in your lease. Contact Nomadic Real Estate for more information on our property management services.

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Commincation Dashboard Screenshot
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Owner Ledger Dates
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Ledger Property Column
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Owner Ledger Description Column
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Owner Ledger Amount Column
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Owner Ledger Account Balance Column
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PW Portal Filters

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PW Owner Dashboard View

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Owner Portal Ledger View

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Owner Portal Document Library

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Portal Reports View

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Owner Portal Bills View

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Portal Bill Details

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Owner Portal Communication Tools

How do net distributions work?

Net distributions keep your accounting clean and simple. Each month we’ll collect rent from the tenants, deduct any repair expenses for the previous month and any management/leasing fees for the current month, and credit the remaining net operating income to your account. 

Net Distribution

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