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Can a commercial landlord charge for air conditioner maintenance?

Brooklyn, NY |


We are a small not-for-profit organization in NYC. We rent an office space that has a central air conditioning unit built in. We first turned on the air conditioner yesterday for the summer season and it wasn't working, and informed the landlord. The landlord responded that he can send a maintenance team to look at it, but we would be liable for all the associated charges. We rent on a month-to-month agreement without a formal lease (we previously were on a termed lease, but it expired). My understanding is that even though landlords are not required to provide the air conditioner by law, if it was included with the property, they are liable to ensure it is in a proper working condition. Can they require us to pay for the maintenance and repairs?

Thank you all very much!

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Attorney answers 3


If the original lease required you to pay for air condition maintenance, that carries over to your month by month tenancy. Otherwise, you are not required to do so.

Please note that I am answering this question as a service through Avvo but not as your attorney and no attorney-client relationship is established by this posting. An attorney-client relationship can only be established through signing a Fee Agreement and paying the necessary advanced fees.


Dear Brooklyn NFP commercial tenant:

New York does not have a statutory bill of rights for commercial tenants. There is no warranty of habitability for commercial tenants. New York allows commercial landlord and tenants to negotiate their own contracts. When a landlord breaches a specific obligation to perform, the tenant has few options, all may involve a lawsuit, or ending the lease, and likely paying to fix the AC will be less expensive and disruptive.

Your expired written lease continued into the month to month tenancy. The initial review should look for the terms and conditions contained in the lease relating to the maintenance of the AC unit built into the office space. There should be some mention about the party, landlord or tenant, who carries the burden of the expense for the maintenance and repair. If the lease is silent, then the tenant may end up paying for the repair.

If necessary, consult with an attorney.

Good luck.

The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.

Peter J Weinman

Peter J Weinman


All too often, in situations like this, it turns out that even though Tenant may be correct that his lease did not require him to pay for repairs, it might have required him to take care of "routine maintenance." Absent proof that such routine maintenance has occurred, the repair will ultimately fall back on the Tenant.

Steven Warren Smollens

Steven Warren Smollens




Can they require us to pay for the maintenance and repairs? Yes.

You need to review the terms of the lease, the expiration of the lease only means your tenancy is month to month, the other terms of the lease survive. If the lease said the tenant is responsible for maintenance, then you are.

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