Arizona bill aims to allow mobile home owners to put in air conditioning units

Summer is right around the corner, and a new bill making its way through the Arizona State Legislature aims to cut down on heat deaths, especially ones inside mobile homes.

At Richard Spohn's mobile home, an air conditioning window unit used to sit in the front window, until he was forced to move it.

"I put a curtain up because now I can’t cool the whole trailer," said Spohn. "Just the front cool real good, the kitchen, but I can’t cool the hallway anymore."

Spohn said it takes a patchwork of fans to cool his place, barely. He also believes about a dozen other residents were forced to do the same. He said management called it ‘an attractiveness issue.’

"They told me ‘you couldn’t see an air conditioner from the road,’" said Spohn.

In 2023, heat-related deaths jumped, and so did the number of people who died indoors. According to ASU research, 146 indoor heat deaths were recorded in Arizona in 2023, and 40% of the deaths were in mobile homes, even though mobile homes make up only half of all Arizona dwellings.

The new bill that aims to deal with the issue is sponsored by State Rep. David Cook (R-District 7), and it would put the power of AC placement in the hands of the resident, not the landlord.

"To me, this is about keeping people safe, right? And we do live in the desert. I don’t know who would object to air conditioners," said State Rep. Cook.

State Rep. Cook is pushing his bill through the state legislature, and if it becomes law, Spohn said he knows what he will do: put that AC front and center.

A representative for mobile home park landlords has brought up issues, calling some ACs noisy and unsightly, which they say can bring down the value of the mobile home park.