Can Landlord Charge for Air Conditioning?

 A couple in Virginia have filed a lawsuit claiming their landlord is charging illegal fees relating to air conditioning.

According to the news report, the landlord is supplying window air conditioners, but for a fee of $325 each, or $75 per month.

The tenants say that’s illegal, and further that a state law bars the landlord from padding utility bills.

Tenants told reporters that the fee is not in the lease, but rather provided in a memo to the tenants.  The fee applies either per air conditioner or per month the units are used. The landlord says this charge is a way to create uniformity in order to maintain curb appeal at the property. The landlord  exercises the right to inspect each apartment to see if nonconforming air units are in use.

In addition to the base fees, which tenants say are rising each year, if tenants pay the fee late, it doubles.

According to the report, the complex has been subject to previous court actions over fees, and in one case a judge ordered the landlord to return a late fee related to the use of the air conditioning unit.

The landlord manages 7,500 apartments in the area, according to the report.

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