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Should L.A. Landlords Be Required to Provide Air-Conditioning to All Renters?

Air conditioning saves lives, while also speeding up the deadly heating of our planet. Should it still be a fundamental right for renters just like how heaters are required?

Phot via Jason Eppink/Flickr.

The world is getting hotter; the heat more deadly. Air conditioning can mean the very difference between survival or demise for the immunocompromised, elderly, and young children when a heat wave hits.

At the same time, air conditioning is not sustainable. Hydrofluorocarbons and other refrigerant chemicals that are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide leech out of the units, trapping greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and making already catastrophic global warming worse for the world. As Time magazine puts it, "air conditioning will not save us."

Nor is air conditioning fairly accessible in Los Angeles, as well in the world at large, with access and distribution suffering from the same social and racial inequality that marks much of society. And speaking of potential inequity, feel free to compare your salary to those working for L.A. DWP, where its new leader is slated to receive up to a potential $751,011.84 in annual pay to help make these decisions.

In June of 2023, the Los Angeles City Council voted to move forward with a plan to have mandatory air conditioning in all rental units in the city, which would require local landlords or property managers to install cooling units in all rentals.

The proposal was advanced earlier this year.

We'd love to know your thoughts in our comments. Should air conditioning be a right? Should landlords be required to install it everywhere? Should those in need or who may depend on it for their survival be prioritized? Should the city be promoting other heat-beating measures that save lives but are gentler on the environment and what should those be?

This comments section is now open for our members' spirited, troll-free debate on the issue.

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