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Tenant reaches breaking point after landlord fails to provide air conditioning during heat wave: 'I'm angry and I'm disappointed'

"It's like walking into a sauna."

Spanish Lake Townhomes, St. Louis families frustrated by air-conditioning

Photo Credit: iStock

As global temperatures continue to warm and this particularly brutal summer marches on, some tenants have suffered without air conditioning.

In St. Louis County, Missouri, Tamara Byrd and at least five of her neighbors had to live through a July heat wave sans the relief of central air, KSDK reported.

Landlords are not required to provide air conditioning in the Show Me State, but Byrd was promised cool air when she signed a new lease for $1,300 per month and put $3,000 down. The contract included a remodeled home and central air compliances, Byrd said.

She didn't get it.

"I'm angry and I'm disappointed," Byrd said.

Spanish Lake Townhomes installed two window units in the two-story home as a temporary solution, but temperatures still reached the high 80s.

Management offered a new unit, but Byrd said there was mold in it. She has asthma, and her daughter has a history of seizures. They were ready to pack up and leave.

"It's extremely hot, no air. No air conditioning. It's like walking into a sauna," Byrd said. "We have fans going."

That's just about all you can do without air conditioning, though freezing your pillows and putting buckets of ice in front of strategically placed fans may also help. Dunking your feet in cold water can offer relief, too.

"Due to the extreme heat we are experiencing, some AC units are having difficulty maintaining a consistent temperature," Amie Musgrove, area vice president of Spanish Lake Townhomes, told KSDK in a statement. "In order to assist residents experiencing these issues, temporary units have been provided until the HVAC vendor can provide assistance. The extreme temperature is causing HVAC companies to be very busy at the moment, which is resulting in long wait times. Some of our residents have multiple temporary units in their homes due to their medical conditions. All residents are encouraged to call our maintenance emergency line when issues arise so that we can handle them quickly."

This kind of problem may only become more frequent as the Earth gets hotter during the next half-decade. In May, the World Meteorological Organization reported that there is a 98% chance that the next five years will be the warmest on record and that at least one of the next five years will also set a record.

Heat can be dangerous and even deadly, and the health effects in cities can be amplified. One problem is that fans may not prevent heat-related illness if the temperature surpasses 95 degrees, according to the World Health Organization.

The St. Louis area can be especially humid, and that's one of the exacerbating factors of heat stress.

Maybe it's time for a federal law that requires landlords to provide air conditioning.

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