When renting a house the rules can be unclear about what should be provided by the landlord and what is expected of the tenants. Things like power bills, utility bills and required appliance conditions tend to be a grey area, with many tenants unsure about what their rights are.
While this varies slightly between states, in Australia, most areas have similar rules regarding what is expected of a landlord when it comes to renting. Below, we will have broken down the tenant’s air conditioning legal rights by the state.
While millions of rental houses all over the country have air conditioning installed, it isn’t required by law for a landlord to provide air conditioning to a tenant.
However, while a landlord is not required to provide air conditioning in Australia, they are required to provide sufficient ventilation according to health and safety standards that will ensure that mould, dust, and other harmful toxins in the air don’t thrive. Air conditioners can be a simple way to provide this type of ventilation.
If an air conditioning unit is installed in a rental property, then it is the property owner's responsibility to ensure that the AC is in good working order at the beginning of the lease contract - unless it is stated in the lease that the air conditioning is not functional. This can be done by making sure the air filters are clean and having routine maintenance carried out (eg. A regular service).
Following service, the property manager should make sure that they obtain a copy of the work order from the air conditioning professional as proof that the maintenance was carried out. If the tenant experiences problems with the air conditioning throughout their stay, the work order can show that the system was in good work order when they moved in.
Once the tenant is in the house, it is their responsibility to carry out normal maintenance on the air conditioner, which includes normal cleanings at specific intervals. This timeline can be found in the owner's manual for the air conditioner.
If the air conditioner has an issue and needs to be repaired, the cost of the job will depend on the tenant's contract.
If the rental contract states that the tenant must carry out all air conditioner repairs, then it's the tenant's responsibility. This rings true even if the broken air conditioner is a result of years of wear and tear. Tenants should always assess the rental contract before signing it and flag anything they’re uncertain about.
If the repair is caused by missed air conditioner maintenance and service after the tenant moved in, then it will be their job to cover the repair bill. To avoid this situation, it is a good idea for tenants to obtain receipts and document dates of when repairs and maintenance are conducted on the AC.
If air conditioning repairs are in need and the rental contract doesn’t state that the tenant must carry out repairs, then the landlord is responsible to fix it in a timely manner.
Read on to understand what is expected from each by law in regards to air conditioning.
When a tenant moved into a new rental property, the condition of the air conditioner (as well as other appliances) should be noted in an entry condition report (form 1a), and it should be in good working order.
When air conditioning repairs are needed, the tenant can request this to the landlord. If the request has been made and it isn’t fixed, the tenant can issue the landlord with a notice to remedy breach (form 11) This will give the landlord seven days to fix the air conditioner. If the repairs are still not made after this date due to external factors (eg. the landlord is waiting for new parts), the tenant can request a rent reduction for the affected time period.
In New South Wales it is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that the rental is fit to live in. This does not mean that every appliance (including the air conditioning) must be in perfect condition.
If the tenant experiences an issue with their air conditioning system, they must submit a written request to the landlord to fix the issue. At no time will rent reductions be allowed, even if the requested repairs aren't carried out.
If the tenant doesn’t conduct standard maintenance and an appliance fails, then it’s their responsibility to fix it.
In South Australia, it is the landlord's responsibility to resolve air conditioner issues that are related to wear and tear issues, even if the tenant knew about the issues before moving in.
When there is an issue with the air conditioner that is not caused by general use the tenant must submit a repair request in writing to the landlord in order to have the unit fixed.
If the landlord refuses to fix issues the tenant can apply to SACAT for the repairs to be done and to be compensated for them. They will likely be approved if a certified technician determines that the issue wasn’t caused by the tenant.
In Victoria rental properties must meet minimum standards before a tenant moves in, otherwise, the lease can be terminated. In regards to air conditioning, the minimum standard states that every home is required to have a heater installed that is in working order. The heater must not be a portable heater (like a gas space heater) and must be permanent.
Starting March 23 2023, the new minimum standard for a heater must be classified as an energy-efficient fixed heater to allow for lower energy bills for the tenant.
A landlord in Western Australia is not required to provide air conditioning to the tenants. If there is one then the condition of the air conditioner must be outlined in the rental agreement, otherwise known as the property condition report, prior to the tenant moving in.
In Tasmania, laws require that the most regularly used room in the house has a heater installed. This is usually the living room. If this condition isn’t fulfilled then the lease can be void because the house has not met minimum living standards.
If you are still having issues - it's time to call in the experts. Our team are on hand to give you the assistance you need. Call us on 07 3283 5566 or fill out a quick quote to get your air con back up and running!