Portable AC units get bad rap

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Q: My daughter rented an apartment where the landlord pays the utilities. It has no air conditioning and she's not allowed to get a portable air conditioner. Is it legal to stipulate this? It can get quite warm in her apartment. --Cathy C. A: As odd as it may seem, it's not illegal for a landlord to prohibit the installation of a portable air conditioner, as long as this policy is announced in the lease or rental agreement. Landlords typically don't like portable units for two reasons: They are unsightly, ruin "curb appeal," and they substantially add to the cost of utilities, which naturally concerns landlords who pays the bills. The only limit on a rule of this type is a reality check: In areas where temperatures are high in the summer, few tenants will agree to rent an apartment knowing that they cannot escape the heat by buying a portable unit. In other words, the market for such an apartment should be rather small, and when the landlord discovers that it's h...