The complexity of renting a property goes beyond paying the rent and enjoying the property’s features. It extends to the understanding of who bears the responsibility of maintaining its various facilities, such as the air conditioning (AC) unit.
At Altitude Air Solutions, we recognise that this understanding is vital for both tenants and landlords, and therefore, we’ve created this comprehensive guide to provide clarity about the responsibilities for air conditioning maintenance in rental properties in New South Wales (NSW).
The Landlord’s Responsibilities
According to NSW tenancy laws, the landlord or property manager is primarily responsible for maintaining the rental property and its facilities in a reasonable state of repair. This includes keeping the property in a ‘habitable’ condition, which extends to its air conditioning system. Essentially, if the AC unit was in working condition at the commencement of the lease, it’s the landlord’s duty to ensure it remains operational.
Landlords must organise for professional maintenance and repairs of the air conditioning system unless the damage was directly caused by the tenant’s misuse or negligence. This duty is not just about compliance with the law, but it also contributes to preserving the value of the property and the satisfaction of the tenant.
The Tenant’s Responsibilities
On the other hand, as a tenant in NSW, your responsibility includes using the AC unit ‘reasonably’, which means not causing unnecessary wear and tear. The tenant is also required to inform the landlord or property manager immediately if the AC unit requires repair or servicing. Failing to do so may result in the tenant being held liable for any damage that occurs due to neglect or failure to report the issue promptly.
Moreover, tenants should carry out simple, routine maintenance tasks such as cleaning or replacing the AC filters regularly. This task not only keeps the unit operating efficiently but also minimises the need for expensive repairs that could be avoided with proper upkeep. Air conditioning maintenance is important and should be considered throughout the process.
Fair Wear and Tear Vs Damage
Distinguishing between ‘fair wear and tear’ and ‘damage’ is a grey area that often results in disputes between landlords and tenants. Fair wear and tear refer to the natural deterioration of the property and its facilities over time due to ordinary use. The landlord cannot hold the tenant responsible for problems arising from fair wear and tear. For example, if the AC unit breaks down due to age or regular usage, the landlord bears the cost of repair or replacement. The size of the air conditioner should also be suitable for the layout.
In contrast, ‘damage’ refers to the harm caused by the tenant’s negligence, carelessness, or intentional act. If a tenant breaks the AC remote control or clogs the AC filters due to lack of cleaning, the tenant will be held responsible for the repairs.
If a dispute arises over who should bear the cost of air conditioning maintenance or repair, there are mechanisms in place to facilitate resolution. Both parties can contact the NSW Fair Trading for advice or submit an application to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for legally binding decisions.
Know Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Tenant
Understanding the responsibilities of air conditioning maintenance in a rental property in NSW is crucial for both tenants and landlords to ensure a positive renting experience. It’s a balance of obligations that, when respected, makes for a harmonious tenant-landlord relationship.
Remember, the Altitude Air Solutions team is always ready to assist with your air conditioning needs, whether you’re a tenant or a landlord in the Blue Mountains region. We offer professional and high-quality services, from installation to repair and regular maintenance, ensuring your AC unit is in its best condition, providing you with the comfort you need. Contact us today!
Please note that this article is designed to provide a general understanding and should not be considered legal advice. For specific guidance related to your circumstances, consider consulting a legal professional.