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'It’s taken a very big toll:' Navy veteran battles months of summer heat with no A/C in North Florida

Marcell Crisp says he's bounced from hotel to hotel, to keeping his family of five in their cars to avoid the house.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Navy veteran on Jacksonville’s Westside has been battling the summer heat without the help of a basic necessity here in Florida - air conditioning.

With a wife and three kids, this has gone past a comfort thing. Marcell Crisp needs to get his family cooled off for their health and safety.

“This is one of the main issues," said Crisp while pulling a fuse from his A/C unit. "When it overworks, it blows the fuse every time.”

Crisp has gotten pretty familiar with fuses this summer, as he's had to buy dozens since his A/C went on the fritz in July.

Just about every time he turns it on, it blows the fuse.

“Mentally, physically and financially, this is the worst rental I’ve done in my life, and I’ve had some bad landlords, this is the worst," said Crisp.

Crisp says he’s texted and called his landlord relentlessly over the past two months.

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He says one crew came out, but only made the A/C worse to where it needs to be replaced.

He and his family have spent the past few months living in their cars for the A/C, and have blown through their savings on hotel rooms waiting for the landlord to fix the problem.

“We’re renting hotel rooms every other day now," said Crisp. "I’ve told him, 'I can’t keep affording to rent hotels, and you’re not accommodating me. I know you don’t have to by the state of Florida.'”

Florida law does not require landlords to provide air conditioning to tenants unless it's written into the lease agreement.

It’s an issue that's now on the radar for State Representative Angie Nixon.

“It should be considered a right, if you are in Florida," said Nixon. "Landlords should provide A/C, because for some people, it could be a matter of life or death.”

Nixon says she’s aware of several activists groups who are working to bring a new tenant bill of rights to different municipalities throughout the state.

She says she intends to bring the issue up to her fellow legislators to see if something can be done at the state level.

“Something has to be done about landlords like that," said Nixon. "They can’t come out here trying to get over on people.”

Crisp says he’s reached out to the VA as well to see if they can help in any way, and says they have provided him a few resources.

First Coast News reached out to Crisp's landlord. The landlord didn't want their name included, but said a company did come out to look at the unit, and told them it just needed a cleaning. 

She believes Crisp is at fault for the broken unit, and said they've made several efforts to get the damage repaired. She said they are currently waiting on the part, and that it should be installed shortly.

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