JUPITER, Fla. — Despite living in one of the hottest states, there is no Florida law requiring that landlords provide air conditioning to their tenants.
After a summer with weeks of temperatures that felt like the triple-digits, lawmakers are re-igniting a conversation about possible requirements that could protect the most vulnerable.
Under Florida law, landlords are required to provide running water, electricity, adequate parking, trash pickup and heat.
But in a state where most people struggled this summer with several days where the heat index was above 100 degrees, landlords are not required to provide air conditioning.
"Why is (air conditioning) not mandatory?" WPTV Contact 5 reporter Dave Bohman asked state Rep. Jervonte Edmonds, D-West Palm Beach.
"That's a great question that we're trying to figure out," Edmonds said. "What is keeping the Legislature from mandating landlords from giving quality air conditioning [to tenants?] But we're going to go to Tallahassee, and we're going to fix that problem."
It's a problem during hot weather for renters with no air conditioning or when their air conditioning breaks down.
Last summer, a West Palm Beach family of seven sweltered through an entire month with no air conditioning.
While he waited for repairs, Lys Joseph worried most about his 6-month-old granddaughter.
"That's why we want to let them know it's serious," Joseph said. "They have to do something."
But because of Florida law, the apartment complex was under no obligation to fix the air conditioning right away.
Former state Rep. Michael Grieco, D-Miami, sponsored a bill to mandate air conditioning for tenants during the last session. However, the bill died in committee.
"There's always some organized pushback because it puts a lot of pressure on apartment complexes and things like that," Grieco said.
However, Edmunds said this scorching summer may change some lawmakers' minds.
Edmunds said he's close to having a Republican co-sponsor for his bill. He also hopes that when lawmakers return to Tallahassee in January when average temperatures are in the 50s, they remember the sweltering heat of this summer.