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Montgomery Co. requires landlords provide heat in the winter, but not AC in the summer. This proposed bill could change that

A Montgomery County councilmember introduced a bill that mandates landlords provide enough AC to keep their apartments cooler than 80 degrees in the summer.

SILVER SPRING, Md. — In this heat across the DMV, air conditioning can literally be a matter of life or death.

At one senior apartment complex in Silver Spring, residents say the AC has been on the fritz for years.

This is why a Montgomery County councilmember has introduced a bill to require landlords to provide working air conditioning for all rental units in the summer. 

This is why WUSA9 went to the Charter House Senior apartments for less than an hour, and managers wouldn't let us inside.

But in that time, medics pulled up twice to help elderly residents in distress. Residents said one of them passed out in the heat.

"She fainted because it's hot down there," Allen Cassidy, who leads the resident's association, said.

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Cassidy said that when he went to turn on the air Wednesday morning, nothing came out. 

"No air," he said. 

From a flood to a fire to no AC, residents and county leaders said they've been complaining to Charter House's owners, AHC, Inc., for years.

WUSA9 reached out to the company, but hasn't heard back.

Ella Cassidy, Allen's wife, said she struggles in the heat. 

"Terrible, because a lot of us in here are sick," Ella Cassidy said. "A lot of us have COPD. A lot of us our diabetic. And we have one sickness or the other that affect us when it's too hot ... We're fragile and vulnerable."

Montgomery County requires landlords provide heat in the winter. But not cool air in the summer. Councilmember Tom Hucker has introduced a bill to require AC.

"On a day like today, it's over 90 degrees, it's going to hit 100 over the weekend, so it's really a life or death issue," Hucker said. "We shouldn't have tenants suffering in apartments where they never had air conditioning or haven't maintained it."

Representatives of the Apartment and Office Building Association said they haven't taken an official position on this yet, but they're happy to talk to the council member.

Hucker said he's been talking to a housebound 80-year-old who has no AC -- and has been keeping frozen water bottles in her lap to try and cool off.

It's unclear if any other counties have such a sweeping a/c mandate. Montgomery County could be the first.

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RELATED: Days with 'feels like' temps of 100 degrees could double in coming decades: study