Fortunately, AC is considered an essential service pursuant to code 118A.380(1). Even for essential services, the tenant, according to code 118A.355(1), 118A.260, must give written notice to the landlord.
Sample letter here
The tenant can utilize the repair and deduct method, (after a 48 hour time lapse pursuant to 118A.380(1)) meaning the tenant can pay for the repair and deduct it from the rent, provided this remedy is used only once every 12 months, the cost does not exceed 1 month's rent, and any details as specified in the lease are complied with. Any unpaid rent must be deposited with the court pursuant to 118A.355(5) which unfortunately is not very fair to the tenant since that assumes the tenant has the money for the repair AND one month's rent, but this is written by legislatures who don't always think about these daily issues.
Another option to the repair and deduct is to secure alternate housing until the essential service is remedied, and withhold rent for that time period.
Generally once the statutes are cited, the landlord will comply with the request for repair because they are aware the tenant knows his/her rights.
statutes can be printed off here:
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Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.