B.C. Renters Warned Against Air Conditioning Installations by Landlords Amid Rising Temperatures

B.C. Renters Warned Against Air Conditioning Installations by Landlords Amid Rising Temperatures

Several tenants from various property management firms have shared their disappointment after landlords denied their air conditioner installation requests. These incidents follow the province's recent announcement of a program to supply air conditioners to eligible residents.

The province outlined plans in June to distribute 8,000 air conditioning units to low-income, medically vulnerable households over three years. A concurrent program from B.C. Hydro offers residential customers a $50 discount on qualifying air conditioners until the end of July.

Despite these initiatives, many renters are still facing challenges. Ryan Le Neal, a New Westminster resident, was cautioned against using his standing air conditioner, threatening his lease agreement. He feels his unit is safe to use as he has consulted with electricians and ensures it is connected to a circuit capable of managing the load.

The notice served by his landlord, Dinesh Chand, cites older buildings' inability to cope with the high electrical demands of air conditioning units and potential damage caused by the devices. Le Neal believes the warning is meant to intimidate tenants into not using A.C. units, even when their health could be at risk due to the extreme heat.

Meanwhile, the landlords' concerns about building safety and electrical capacity also have merit. Buildings need to be individually assessed to ensure they can handle the increased electrical load of air conditioners, which could require expensive infrastructure upgrades in some cases.

David Hutniak, CEO of Landlord BC, an advocacy group, expressed concerns about the cost and lack of clarity regarding the province's air conditioning program. He emphasized that the landlords' consent is required for installing such equipment.

B.C.'s Minister of Housing, Ravi Kahlon, encouraged landlords and tenants to work collaboratively towards solutions that prioritize people's safety during extreme heat events.

However, tenant union organizer Krisztina Fulop believes a more proactive approach from the province is needed to ensure tenants can adequately cool their homes. She advocates for a mandate that would require landlords to make necessary changes for the safety of their tenants.

Despite the contention, Le Neal is adamant about his right to use his air conditioner on particularly hot days.

Source: Uguen-Csenge, E. (2023, July 21). Landlords in B.C. warning renters against installing AC units despite Rising heat | cbc news. CBCnews. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-air-conditioner-renters-1.6906665