Seattle's heat wave is over, but concerns about a lack of air conditioning aren't

While the recent heat wave may have ended, the sun continues to blaze over Puget Sound, with temperatures reaching the mid-80s. As the city experiences another hot summer, tenant advocates argue that not providing air conditioning in rental homes is inhumane.

"It's going to keep getting hotter and people don't need to roast alive in their apartments," said Austin Price, a renter from the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Historically, Seattle was known as the worst air-conditioned city in the U.S. However, recent census data shows that the number of homes with air conditioning units has doubled in recent years. Currently, just over half of the housing units in the area have AC. Despite this improvement, many residents still live without it.

"I know some places are starting to charge AC to the renters," Price said. "People already can't afford housing."

Washington State law and heatwave regulations

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

Rebecca Quirke, a renter's advocate with Tenants Revolt, criticized the current regulations. "I wish I could say there are tips for not dying in your apartment this summer," Quirke said. "It’s dangerous, it's insane, 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 for unsafe living conditions, poor airflow, and broken windows. The group encourages tenants to make their voices heard, suggesting: "reach out to your landlord, put everything in writing, put it on social media, put them on blast."

To further support renters, Quirke has also initiated sweepstakes offering a portable air conditioner to those who share their heatwave experiences.

"It's really important that this isn't normalized," Quirke said. "Things are only getting worse, things are only getting more extreme. So we need to not catch up with what’s happening right now. We need to see what the trend is and what the responsibilities are."

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


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