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Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

Seattle’s Heat Wave Is Over, But Air Conditioning Concerns Remain

By meerna Jul11,2024
Seattle’s Heat Wave Is Over, But Air Conditioning Concerns Remain

Although the recent heat wave has ended, the sun is still shining over Puget Sound, with temperatures reaching the mid-80s. As the city endures another hot summer, tenant advocates say the lack of air conditioning in rental homes is inhumane.

“It’s going to get warmer and people won’t have to roast themselves alive in their apartments,” said Austin Price, a Capitol Hill renter.

Historically, Seattle has been known as the worst air-conditioned city in the U.S. But recent census data shows that the number of homes with air conditioning has doubled in recent years. Now, just over half of the area’s housing units have air conditioning. Despite these improvements, many residents still live without it.

“I know some places are starting to charge renters for air conditioning,” Price said. “People can’t afford to live there anymore.”

Washington State Law and Heat Regulations

Washington state law requires homes to be at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit during sleep hours and 68 degrees during the day. But there is no legal maximum temperature limit, leaving renters with few options when indoor temperatures soar to 90 or even 100 degrees.

Rebecca Quirke, a tenants’ rights advocate at Tenants Revolt, has criticised the current rules. “I wish I could say there’s guidance on how not to die in your home this summer,” Quirke said. “It’s dangerous, it’s crazy and I don’t want people to have to find workarounds because their landlord won’t do their job.”

Advocacy and Action

Quirke’s group has launched an online map highlighting landlords in Whatcom, Snohomish and King counties who have unsafe living conditions, poor airflow and broken windows. The group encourages renters to voice their concerns, suggesting “contact your landlord, write it all down, put it on social media, report them.”

To further support renters, Quirke has also organised a raffle where people who share their experiences of the heat will receive a portable air conditioning unit.

“It’s really important that this doesn’t become the norm,” Quirke said. “Things are getting worse, more extreme. So we can’t keep up with what’s happening now. We need to see what the trend is and what the responsibility is.”

FOX 13 News reached out to the Washington Landlord Association for a response to these concerns. They have not responded.

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By meerna

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