New Oregon bill makes it easier for renters to install A/C units

Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 10:36 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - With temperatures soaring in Oregon this week, a new law will make it easier for renters in the state to install portable air conditioning units.

Senate Bill 1536 was passed by the Oregon State Legislature during their 2022 short session. It requires landlords and property management companies to allow their tenants to have portable air conditioning units in their apartment units. However, the law also allows landlords to restrict A/C units based on these criteria below:

Portable air conditioning units can be restricted if it:

  1. Violates building codes or state or federal law.
  2. Violates the device manufacturer’s written safety guidelines for the device.
  3. Damages the premises or renders the premises uninhabitable.
  4. Requires amperage to power the device that cannot be accommodated by the power service to the building, dwelling unit, or circuit.

Window air conditioning units can be restricted if it:

  1. Interferes with the renter’s ability to lock a window that is accessible from the outside.
  2. Impedes necessary egress from the dwelling.
  3. Requires the use of brackets or other hardware that would damage or void the warranty of the window or frame.
  4. Punctures the envelope of the building or otherwise causes significant damages.
  5. Is used without being adequately drained to prevent damage to the dwelling unit or building.
  6. Requires dangerous installation that poses a risk of injury.

Landlords can also ask their tenants to remove their air conditioning units between Oct. 1 and April 30. If landlords believe any air conditioning unit violates these conditions, they can do inspections that could result in removing the unit at the cost of the tenant. Also, the law requires any new building permitted after April 1, 2024, to have at least one cooling room. That can be done through central air conditioning or a portable air conditioning unit provided by the landlord.

Grace Gasior is a tenant in a historic Northwest Portland apartment building. She said despite some caveats, she’s happy there’s a law in place that can help keep renters cool during the summer months.

“I think it’s great because people would be suffering through this heat and not being able to function if it wasn’t for those A/C units in these older buildings,” Gasior said.