Landlords in Fairfax, Virginia Charging Hundreds of Dollars Just for Residents to Turn on Their AC

Good health for you and your family members is an integral part of living. Installing air conditioning systems help reduce the chances of asthma attacks, therefore maintaining a good health state for you. In case you are a fitness enthusiast, having a cool place to do your exercise is one of the benefits you enjoy from having the ac system. Other benefits of air conditioning include improving your quality of air in your house, better sleep, reducing the chances of being dehydrated, experiencing a lesser number of insects and parasites, and helping you prevent overheating for your electronics.

Qualities to look out for before you buy new HVAC

The comfort of your family should come first. Before you buy a new HVAC, think about the size that suits your house and family. What is the quality of the system? How much will it cost you? go for a budget HVAC supply for affordability. Consider the reputation of the shop you choose to buy from. What is the feedback from clients who have gotten appliance and ac services from them? Is the shop an all service HVAC shop? Getting technicians for your HVAC system is a hassle. If possible, look for a shop that offers after-sales services for their clients.

Is charging extra for air conditioning illegal? That’s what a lawsuit filed this week in the Fairfax County Circuit Court is saying. The suit says that there is nothing in the lease about fees for air conditioning, and that the fee violates a Virginia housing law,which prevents landlords from charging tenants more for utilities than what it costs to provide them. The Quinteros — the couple bringing the suit — must currently pay an extra $75 a month to use their air conditioner.

Though the couple have other air conditioners in the apartment, they do not turn them on, as they are not being able to afford the extra charges for using them.

“We’re bearing the heat because the one air conditioner is all we can afford,” explained Amanda Quinteros in an interview with the Washington Post. They are seeking an injunction against future fees for all apartments in the complex, as well as damages for past fees.

JBG Residential Services LLC, the property management company listed in the lawsuit, sends a memorandum to tenants every spring regarding air conditioner usage. Each air conditioner costs $75 to run per month, or $325 total from April to September. Staff members for the company check on apartments to see whether the units are in use. Supposedly, the charge — which is separate from the utility costs used to run the air conditioners — is used to ensure the ACs meet “aesthetic standards.”

Community organizers have been trying to rally residents for several years into legally questioning the extra fee, which is not typical for the area. The complex itself, Olde Salem Village Apartment Homes, rents out apartments at a median cost of $1,500 a month, which is a cheaper rent overall than other apartments in the area. This has likely contributed to many staying quiet about the additional summer fees, not wanting to risk losing out on overall lower rent prices.

“Nobody wants to say anything, out of fear of being thrown out,” said Quinteros.
Quinteros, for her part, makes the extra money through babysitting and selling El Salvadoran tamales at a price of $1 each.

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