Oregon Law Requires Cooling, but Could Leave Many Renters Out

A state bill requiring landlords to allow tenants to install portable air conditioners comes with a raft of exemptions that could restrict the most affordable options.

1 minute read

July 27, 2022, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Window air conditioner units on a brick building

James Andrews1 / Window air conditioners

A new Oregon law, Senate Bill 1536, offers some relief to renters seeking to install portable air conditioning units in their apartments. According to a report by Connor McCarthy for KPTV, the bill “requires landlords and property management companies to allow their tenants to have portable air conditioning units in their apartment units.” The bill is a response to the deadly heat wave that swept the Northwest last June, when roughly 100 Oregon residents died from heat-related causes. Most of the victims lived in non-air conditioned housing, the article notes.

The bill offers a range of reasons why landlords can restrict the installation of units, however. These include building code violations, damage to the window or building, or excessive amperage. “Landlords can also ask their tenants to remove their air conditioning units between Oct. 1 and April 30.”

The could prove an obstacle for many residents of older buildings. According to a separate article by Pat Dooris for KGW8, the bill’s exceptions make it “nearly impossible” to install window units, which are hugely popular and affordable, costing at $100 less than the least expensive rolling floor unit.

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