Spokane Ordinance Guarantees "Right to Air Conditioning"

Posted By: Carter Nelson Advocacy News,

Spokane landlords will no longer have the authority to prohibit tenants from installing air conditioners following a unanimous vote by the Spokane City Council on Monday. The ordinance, introduced by Councilwoman Kitty Klitzke in May, goes into effect in mid-July, coinciding with the anticipated hot summer temperatures.

Originally, the law was designed to apply only during "extreme heat events" as defined by the National Weather Service. However, the updated ordinance approved by council removed this restriction, making this ordinance applicable year-round. The council also removed a provision that would have allowed landlords to require removal of air conditioners during winter months. This revision came after tenant advocacy, emphasizing the importance of multipurpose devices that can also provide heat or dehumidification.

The ordinance underwent several revisions before adoption, which, according to tenant activists and members of council, was aimed at closing potential loopholes that could have still allowed landlords to hinder air conditioner installations, such as requirements for window brackets. While landlords can still prevent installation if it would cause unreasonable damage or require excessive bracket use, these terms are not clearly defined and would likely be subject to interpretation by local courts in potential tenant lawsuits under the new law, according to Klitzke.


We will continue to update our members as this goes into effect. Please email carter@wmfha.org with any questions.