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Renters have resources in Knoxville if their air conditioning goes out during a heat wave

If you're a renter and your landlord provides air conditioning, there are resources to help you cool down.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Sweltering temperatures are baking much of East Tennessee, and people across the area are depending on air conditioning to stay cool. Sometimes, air conditioning systems can break.

Renters in Tennessee can reach out to the Knox County Community Action Committee for help. They operate an emergency home repair program to help people stay in their homes and be independent. They must meet income and other eligibility requirements, though.

The Knox County CAC is also collecting donations to help people buy fans so they can stay cool over the summer. For more information, people can reach out to the organizers at 865-637-6700 or at 865-546-3500. They can also email cecelia.waters@knoxcac.org.

In cases involving elderly and vulnerable people, calling 211 may also help people find ways to stay cool. They can help connect people with services like shelter, health facilities and financial assistance.

Renters can also ask their landlords for temporary housing to stay cool during a heat wave like the one East Tennessee is seeing. However, renters should make sure that they are guaranteed air conditioning in the original lease they signed for the home.

Air conditioning is not formally considered a utility in Tennessee. The utilities that renters are required to have in their homes include electricity, heating, running water and lighting. So if air conditioning is not included in a lease, renters may not be able to report a violation if it goes out.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story directed people to 311 if their air conditioning broke during the summer. The 311 service gives people access to information about services provided by the city and does not directly help people with issues related to heating and cooling.

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