Is my landlord liable to pay for the cost of a hotel and pet boarding when the air conditioner broke due to lack of maintenance in Phoenix, Arizona? The law seems incredibly unfair to tenants and I'm wondering if I'm misreading it.
My partner and I returned home from a long weekend away and discovered that our air conditioner had stopped running. It has broken before, and the other tenant in our duplex had her unit break last summer and it took 4 days to repair. The repair folks say it hasn't been properly maintained, although we have been diligent in doing our part with changing the filters here in the dusty desert. We notified the landlord Monday night that it had gone out, extended our cat's stay where he was being boarded from our vacation, and went to stay in a hotel. She didn't respond to us on Monday, and when the repair folks found several major problems on Tuesday, didn't authorize them to replace it and wanted to think about it another day, so here we are on the third day without A/C and on the second night in a hotel.
Today she's having them diagnose the problem again (?) so it won't be fixed by tomorrow at best, and it will probably take until Friday for it to be fixed, according to the company doing the repairs.
The law that I could find covering A/C is here: AZ Renter's Rights
. Our rent is $800 a month, so as far as I can tell, she only has to pay us the prorated daily rate (about $27) and then $6 on top of that for our alternate lodging. (Also, sidenote: we pay electricity, and since the 22 year old A/C is presumably inefficient and only cools down half our place, anyway, do we have any way to force her to replace the unit rather than just fix it, since it's costing us an unreasonable amount of money?)
She's being uncommunicative (she lives in another state, she's failed to pay the water bill she's responsible for on four occasions in a year to the point of them coming out to the house to turn it off, and she may or more not be in foreclosure...basically, she's sketchy) and I've been having panic attacks for the past few days, because even though we're staying at a reasonably priced hotel, not being able to cook at home and having to board our cat (we have a dog, too, but he can stay with my partner's mother) and the general inconvenience is infuriating and eating away at my meager, pathetic savings. It's slated to be 107 on Thursday and it's been hot enough that even though I grew up without air conditioning and consider it a luxury, it's intolerable in our house. (I have seen the previous thread this month for ways to stay cool, so don't need any tips on that, just tips on what my legal rights are to get back the money we're spending on not being able to live at home.)
YANML, but does anyone know if we can expect/demand our landlady to pay for more than $32? That's only $10 more than it's costing for us to board the cat! Obviously we could suck it up and stay at home, try to stay cool and try to find a sympathetic friend to take the cat in, but he has a tendency to run away and he had a fever, so I'd rather him stay where he's being boarded with our vet, and it's HOT out. Any advice, any laws I'm missing? Is small claims court an option? Am I being unreasonable for wanting to be reimbursed for the hotel? (It's $100 a night with taxes, and is the cheapest option unless we stayed in a sketchy motel downtown.)