HELP! Tenant demand compensation due to apartment's aircon not working

a long story cut short, it is a newly completed apartment for approx. a year and everything is still under warranty. Tenant's apartment's air con (which is part of the building as the entire building has the same system) not working for a few weeks and we've only been told only very recently (few days). We have since contacted the building strata/maintainance people as it is under warranty - and it has taken them a few weeks to fix that problem - entirely out of my control. Tenant then demand financial compensation because of that. BTW, this apartment is near CBD Sydney and it is not in a "cold climate area" of Australia.

What should I do? is the land lord liable for compensation in this case? BTW, we don't have landlord insurance. Would appreciate any official/unofficial advices. thanks!

Comments

  • Reading between the lines, the tenant is asking for a rent increase. What a Knob,he can't expect it to be fixed immediately.

    • bad attitude and good way to get yourself in a lot of trouble with the courts. the tribunal can make decisions that you are charging more than market value and order you to pay back a lot more.

      you are not allowed to take revenge on someone for enforcing their rights.

    • Ah huh, as a landlord myself- a very reasonable one- my buttons were pushed when tenants demanded a 2nd hills hoist as apparently the standard size one I had wasnt big enough for the family of 6. They paid for it alright.

      • I take it you raised the rent…?

        I don't like AU's multi-class nonsense (IMO), in which -some- Landlords feel a need to unduly insult their customers or "make 'em pay"…

        …when - eg, in the case of needing more clothes drying space - they're only trying to adapt their homes to their needs.

        Ideally, such a large rental property might have an -extra- inbuilt (but safely covered & out-of-the-way) Hills hoist DIY-mounting-hole/-pipe (installed at time-of-construction), so tenants could source & install the 'hoist themselves, without needing tp bother landlord, excepy - possibly - to ask "Where is that covered hole?" ie, if you left it out of the documentation you gave them at lease-signing.

        Short-sighted builder and/or landlord lead to this situation, & you want to penalise tenants?

        We don't need such landlords in AU… wwe have plenty already, I gather.

        "Don't cause pain, give joy/pleasure" is my advice to such business people.

  • that's what I felt too, it's a bit unreasonable.

    but in the email, the tenant is stating some law or clause that the landlord is "obliged to provide aircon in working order", hence, claiming compensation base on that because "he's been out of an aircon for a few weeks"

    • +4 votes

      Why rely on OzB members?

      If you're in business, you need to know applicable rules - both to protect yourself and to provide good & fair service to your customers.

      Call your state's Residential Tenancy Tribunal (possibly by another name), & get an unbiased answer - either in one of their booklets or verbally & on paper.

      If you must compensate tenants, sue the one(s) who failed to fix the air-con system in a timely manner, if your lawyer thinks it'll be cost-effective to do so.

      Have you any business insurance that could cover your loss, here?

      • Call your state's Residential Tenancy Tribunal (possibly by another name), & get an unbiased answer

        ^This…is the only advice you should be listening to in this entire thread…

  • Actually the tenant is right. Think about it from the other way. What if the tenant's employer mucked up his wages payment (happened in QLD several times, e.g. Queensland Health) and he could not pay his rent for several weeks? Would you not then also say that (1) the tenant has to pay you compensation and interest for not paying his rent (even though it is out of his control), and (2) that it is not your business why the tenant is in this situtation and (3) that it is not up to you to go directly to his employer to fix the issue.

    Basically, the tenant has a claim against you (allowing for a reasonable tim which should be around a week, or maximal two) as a functioning air con unit is part of the contract. If it not functioning he is paying part of the rent for something he cannot use, potentially making his life more uncomofortable.
    Here is the good news: you have a claim against the people who did not act fast enough to get it fixed, which might or might not be the body corporate or the company who offered the warranty.
    It is no good to say that the tenant should go to those people and claim directly as (1) he does not have to (this is your job), and (2) he cannot as there is no privity of contract between the tenant and those people so in law he does not have any rights against these people/companies.

    Keep in mind that being a landlord comes with rights (the right to collect rent which everybody seems to happily accept) but also with responsibilities (which landlord often like to forget as those cost money).

    So unfortunately, you need to put this down to life experience, negotiate with your tenant and possibly engage a solicitor to recover what you had to pay to the tenant in order to recover it from the people responsible for the mess. I know it is a pain but that is the chain that has to happen in the eyes of the law.

    If you would like to read up on the subject, I recommend getting a standard contract law textbook. If you want to read one which is a bit more "fun" to read try Cheshire, Fifoot, and Furmston (yes it deals with English contract law but the principles are the same here, given Australian law's origin from English law and its dependence on English judges and court until recently).

    IMPORTANT: Finally, I recommend you get yourself some independent professional legal advice.

    Yes, it costs money but I guarantee that neither MegaSuperUltraTight nor ilostnemo will take responsiblity (and pay) if you followed their advice and as a result get deeper into a mess. Solicitors have insurance for that.

    Note to mods: maybe consider not allowing questions like that as it could be considered as providing a forum for legal advice which only qualified solicitors are allowed to give and this is certainly not the forum. I am going out on a limp here but I am pretty sure (from their advice and style of expression) that neither Mega… or ilostnemo are solicitors.

    • You're assuming that a functioning air con unit is part of the contract.

      • It is a an amenity included in the property, it forms part of the contract.

      • @got fever

        doesn't matter even if its not because if it was working on the property the lease is for then its the landlords responsibility

    • Only lawyers are qualified to give legal advice. It is still legal for any random person to give legal advice, however - you don't even end up liable for damages if the advice was crap.

      You might be thinking about a company misrepresenting its advice (like banks and insurance companies which add the 'does not take into account your personal financial situation' spiel) - they can be liable. Individuals cannot. Or it could be that if you are a lawyer it can be a bad idea to give advice to random people, as that might constitute a client-lawyer relationship, which has certain obligations involved (I really don't know how accurate the claim is, but I know a lot of lawyers aren't willing to take the risk it might be).

    • "Keep in mind that being a landlord comes with rights (the right to collect rent which everybody seems to happily accept) but also with responsibilities (which landlord often like to forget as those cost money)."

      So true.

    • +1

      Well written

  • +12 votes

    To the tenant: Pick your battles mate, and give yourself an upper cut for being such a douche after demanding compensation for not reporting it for a few weeks, then expecting it fixed instantly.

    @lysander: I'm guessing your a law student or an experienced ambulance chaser, as either way - seeking legal advice for something like this is hardly practical IMHO.

    An air-conditioner broke down. The tenant didnt report it to the Landlord for a couple of weeks. The landlord fixed it in the manner he had to and it took a couple more weeks. Explain the situation, remind the tenant of their duties to report problems with the property timely, no compensation and move on.

    Disclaimer: I'm a renter of 10 years (not a landlord) and yes, my airconditioner has broken down and never demanded compo for it.

    • Sorry mate, I am neither. In fact, I help people who cannot afford legal advice eitherwise, so work for free which is a big rarity in this country.
      You are right about one thing though: the OP would be better off accepting his responsibility under the law and pay compensation, for example 20% reduction for the time the air-con unit was out (minus 2 weeks being reasonable notice). So if rent for two months was $3000 this would amount to six hundred dollars which would be cheaper than a legal bill and save hassle. Also, that money would be recoverable from the people responsible for the faulty unit.

      However, if OP wants to maintain he is not "responsible" in law, then it is MUCH better to get professional legal advice rather than listening to people who are not legally qualified or think it is OK to stiff tenants (who in this country are in the much weaker position anyway) - I am guessing you would not accept liability if OP followed your advice and as a result would incur high costs.

      Also, just because you are such a generous human being and never demanded comensation does not mean everybody has to have that attitude and you do not get the right to tell people off for exercising their rights.

      P.S.: Of course the reasonable period only starts from the day of the notification so the tenant might have lost some compensation there as the landlord is not a mind reader. You got to be fair but making a working air con a triviality is not right.
      If you rent something out, you have to esnure it works. If not, accept responsibility or do not rent it out (again, think car rental, computer rental etc.)

      • 20% reduction in rent? You've got to be having a laugh at that.

        It would be completely different if the landlord did nothing about it once it was reported - but what else can he do? By taking action once its reported he's fulfilled his duties clear and proper - I'd stand in any tribunal and argue this black and blue. What is he supposed to do - engage another contractor (who may void the warranty), who may still take 2 weeks to get out there to remedy the problem?

        By your logic, a home owner (as opposed to landlord) in the same apartment complex would have the right to claim 20% of their mortgage payments from the air-conditioner company while it was being fixed?

        • Are you just being difficult or do you really not undertsand the difference?

          A home owner has a direct contract with whoever sold the unit and hence can set that person a reasonable deadline to fix. If it is not, yes, then the homeowener could claim all costs associated with this (e.g. calling the service himself) from the responsible person (you can recover the bill from those people). Privity of contract exists.

          A tenant on the other hand cannot do that as between the tenant and the "unit seller" or responsible person, no privity of contract exists. Privity of contract only exists between tenant and landlord and hence it is the landlord who needs to ensure the work is done promptly, for example by setting deadlines, getting another reapir service in and then recovering the costs.
          The tenant cannot set a deadline to the responsible person/"unit seller" but only to the landlord as that is his only contractual party.

          I really hope you understand the difference now. If not, then that is your problem. If I was wrong how come the outcome in hundreds of cases I have been involved in was exactly as I stated? Maybe the judges were all wrong, too?

          As to the amount of reduction: he can offer 10%, too but what I wanted to demonstrate is that even with 20% it will still bemuch cheaper than having to go to court and engaging a solicitor, so from a financial point of view that would be the smart choice. If the tenant accepts less, great.

        • -19 votes

          @Lysander:

          I understand completely. Sorry about earlier, I'd had a momentary lapse of memory. I now remember that lawyers and common sense are mutually exclusive items, and trying to reason with one is a fruitless exercise.

        • @tizey:

          Bad experience with one? Given your energy to come with illegal schemes I am not surprised you hate lawyers.

        • @Lysander:
          Thank goodness there are people who do up hold the law and rights of tenants, and landlords or else the idiots on this page would clearly up the rent if ever any tennant dared to complain about repairs or inconvieience that is the landlords responsibility to up hold their part of the contractual bargain ……..!!!!!!! Refreshing words Lysander.

      • If you aren't a lawyer then don't give legal advice!

        If you knew about the law you would know a person in this scenario is only able to be compensated for what they have lost. What has the person lost? Some cool air?

        Good luck to the tenant in getting a court to make an order for compensation in these circumstances.

        This foolish tenant is going the right way to having to find a new home. I wouldn't be renewing the lease for such a pain on the ass. Plenty of people looking for somewhere to rent who are reasonable.

        • I guarantee if the tenant means business you will end up thousands out of pocket as legal bills can be quite high if you are taken to court and lose.
          And if you then say "I just followe the advice of "Got Fever" from Ozbargain, you will be laughed out of court for being naive.
          It is up to you if taking such a risk is really worthwhile?

          Why don't you negotiate with your tenats first rather than choosing a confrontational course of action?

          Please note that your case is NOT the first of its kind. The courts have established guidelines and precedents as to what reduction of rent (your compensation) is appropriate in which case. Call your local magistrates court and ask whether they have some guidelines or info material for this kind of situation. Some do, and some don't.

          To illustrate the point; if you rented a skiing chalet and there the heating would not work, you can still use the chalet (but be cold). According to the arguments here you have no financial loss (as intangible). But you paid $200 a day for a chalet with a supposedly functioning heater when you could have rented one without one for $100.
          Would you just let that go and think "Hey, no problem I just spend double of what I could have spent but I am being generous here)?

        • @Lysander: why is he going to court? It's a tenancy tribunal matter and a very weak one at that.
          He arranged to have it repaired once he was notified and it took 2 weeks (well he said a few…so maybe 3 not the 2 months you said above). Not ideal but certainly within tenancy law in NSW for a non-emergency. Which is evident by the length of time they took to tell the landlord.

          Even if the tenant were to seek compensation through the tribunal (which will cost them $40 to apply for) they would get almost nothing. Look at the examples the tribunal provides. (Basing on memory here) To get a 50% rent reduction you need half a house out of action due to damage etc.

          I've been to tribunals as a landlord where the tenant sought substantial compensation and they walked away with almost nothing as they had contributed to the delays by not telling me…sounds pretty familiar.

          It's a non essential item with alternatives available to the tenant (they can get a fan or heater) and was arranged to be fixed once told and took a few weeks….they aren't going to get any compensation in any tribunal I've sat in.

          edit read through and saw the agents mostly at fault as the tenant did notify over a month ago and the building manager prior to that. Changes it quite a bit and the tenant should seek compensation (I generally wouldn't but was a easygoing tenant who only bristled when agents or landlords were douches) will leave my comments for posterity as they addressed the knowledge at the time of writing.

    • A faulty air-con unit is an act of God?
      So the next time someone post here saying that a tv arrived DOA, the manufacturer could claim Act of God and refuse refunds or another tv?

      Funny you used a clause to show your tenant the garage was for the storage of cars only but if tenants uses a clause to prove his rights you want to kick him out.

      To MITM: Just a piece of advice: what you are advocating, namely kicking a tenant out for exercising his or her rights is illegal.

      Also, your chain of events is not cnfidence instilling regarding Australian management methods and the qualifications of tradies and I think it is a bit unfair to the hard working people and tradies out there.

      To "Got Fever": think about that again. The tenant is paying money for something he cannot use - there is your financial loss. If you rent a car for $100 a day and the car does not work, the rental fee for a non-functioning item is your financial loss. In case of a houre or flat rental, the financial loss is appropriated proportionately to the reduced use of the rented house or unit.

      I have dealt with hundreds of these cases and the courts accept this with no questions asked as it is settled. So if any of you want to indemnify the OP when following your advice, please do so, so the OP can test it out without incurring any financial risk.

      Then such issue is settled and maybe Ozbargain can establish a "settled and tested law" corner, each entry sponsored by those of you who proved indemnity to the OP and financial support in case of a loss in court. Wouldn't that be great? ;-)

      • The tenant is paying to rent a property. If a working air con unit is part of the contract then, I agree, that the tenant would be entitled to compensation.

        My rental agreement has no reference to our air con unit. Just that if there's an issue with the property that requires attention that I must notify the landlord in reasonable time. The landlord then has a responsibility to fix the issue in a reasonable time.

        I think this matter really depends on the terms of the contract.

        • The OP said that this is in a clause hence all this discussion is superfluous. In any case, if the unit is rented out with those items it is implied that they are working. So yes, a working air con unit will be part of the contract!
          The fact that unit is brand spanking new makes this argument even stronger.

          And because it depends on the terms of the contract the OP should see a solicitor who can look at it properly rather if he does not want to compromise with the tenant.

        • @Lysander: the OP said that the tenant is citing "some law or clause".

          You're assuming that this means that the contract has a clause. The vagueness around the OP's statement would suggest to me that you can't categorically know what he's saying - he might be misusing the term - so I don't think this is a superfluous discussion.

      • @Lysander - no, we pointed to the sign outside the garage that said tenants cars only. It was fait accompli.
        We arent paper tigers clutching contracts.
        Needless to say, they got their notice 2 months out.

        But I do advocate people live together in harmony. The vibrations from such a tenant "complaining/whinging" would jarr me and so I would seek a more compatible tenant with my investment strategy eg tizey above.
        Agreed, he would be entitled to remain till the end of the lease.

        I pity your realm of conflict and battle over the years. Cant be good for your outlook. Who'd be a divorce lawyer with all the acrid bitterness 5 days a week. My world is creative.

        All in all, the air-con broke down. It got fixed. It's life.

        @ fatboyslim - welcome to residential investment property.
        My advice (and I'm not qualified except for life experience) move to commercial and/or shares and save your soul.

        • Wow, I hope no one I know ever rent from you MITM.

          No compo for an act of god? I nearly spit my coffee everywhere laughing.

      • Wonderfully put - and without a hectoring tone.

        I'll get my hat…..

    • Just so you understand, faulty devices aren't classified as an "Act of God".

  • Who the hell would want their air con on this time of year (especially Sydney CBD) stupid (gold digging) tenant..Get new ones as they sound like they'll be a constant pain in the bum

    • Yes, really follow the advice of somebody with an excellent grasp of the English language regarding appropriate expression (tenants are gold-digging? Maybe look up in which context such word use is appropriate, please) - I am sure this person is a qualified solicitor and is happy to indemnify you when (NOT if) you lose in court.

    • He was complaining of the "heating" function of the air con, unfortunately

      • And there you have it - see the advice you are getting (stupid gold digging; who would need air-con etc. - full of erroneous assumptions).

        It is up to you what you do but if you really want to run the risk of relying on a forum where people giving you advice are not legally qualified I am not sure whether you are the one who is after each and every cent.

        Offer the tenant $300-$500 compensation, have the air-con unit fixed (if not done already) and be done with it. Looking for a new tenant will also costs you that amount as you will lose rent (when the flat is empty) and it will cost you your time (and so will going to court, dealing with a solicitor etc.).

        Avoid, it, do the smart thing, compromise and pay up and recover the money from whoever is responsible for the delay after you were notified.

        • Who's going to pay his neighbour, an owner-occupier of an apartment in the same complex $300-500 in compensation for also being cold as the entire building has the same system?

          Any court would have to be shown that what the landlord did in arranging the repairs is unreasonable. Please demonstrate how this is the case here.

        • @tizey:

          Dude, just because the other people do not claim compensation does not mean it is not possible. If it is a complex wide system, then yes, you are right, they all have a right to compensation if the time taken to repair the system was unreasonably long.

          As to the owner occupier, please read the comment regarding the difference in privity of contract above.

          By their very nature owners and tenants do not have the same rights - why do you assume they do?

        • @Lysander:

          I understand completely now. By their very nature, a relationship is generally better off in the long term between two parties when whilst they have their rights, one party is not a stickler for constantly enforcing their rights to the absolute letter of the law.

          I wonder what would happen if the landlord took the tenant to the tribunal for not reporting the manfunctioning air conditioner as soon as it occurred?

        • @tizey:

          What would happen if the tenant did not pay the rent on time? You think the OP would say "Ah, just pay it next week" or would the OP (just like any other landlord) write a letter demanding payment of the rent?

          By the way, would you argue like that with the bank holding your mortgage (if you had one - I know you said you rent)? If you did, good luck with that.

          P.S.: The difference again is the landlord did not suffer any loss - the tenant caused himself inconvenience by reporting it late.
          Also, look at the other comments: I too doubt that no-one reported this given it is winter. Therefore I would be careful making statements like this.

        • @Lysander:

          But if the tenant did not pay the rent and then the landlord demanded it, the landlord is likely to be paid the rent owinng, not the rent owing + some arbitrary and subjective compensation.

          Sorry Lysander I'm with tizey, you are acting like a douche. Quoting words like privity does not make you any more right or knowledgeable.

        •  

          @tizey: The owner occupier will be paying a body corporate fee. They can take it up at the next Body Corp meeting.
          It has no bearing on the the original post which is about a disagreement between a tenant and a landlord.

        • @nicksinternet: You're not comparing apples with apples. The aircon broke. The tenant can claim compensation.

          If the tenant broke the aircon themselves, the landlord could claim compensation too, and get it from the bond.

        • are you the tenant @lysander?

        • @nicksinternet:

          Sorry mate but in law you are wrong about that. If the landlord suffers damages (penalty fees because rent is used to service mortgage and tenant knew that and now as a result the landlord is slapped with a fine) then the landlord can recover that as well. Also, there are even guidelines as to what amount and rate of interest can be charged on late debts.

          You are right, the words do not make me right. But the fact I have degrees in law and have been working in this area for many years (including going to court over this many times on behalf of clients) does make me knowledgeable.

        • @andyken:

          I am in QLD (near Brisbane), the OP states the unit is in Sydney. What do you think? I did not know Sydney was a suburb of Brisbane. :-)

          If I was the tenant, the OP would already be before a tribunal if he had acted the way some people here have suggested.

      • just give him 20 dollars to buy convection heater from master…….while waiting for the repair

    • Just cause you might not use the AC this time of the year, doesn't mean people don't. Also remember AC isn't air cooling, its Air conditioning. This can mean HEATING and COOLING. Your office building has the AC on right now. Would it be fair if this wasn't working for 4 weeks??

      I stayed in an apartment once that was on the upper levels…. The place was so HOT that the AC had to be ran even though it was nice outside. The place had tiny windows that only opened a few cms so you couldn't use the line of opening windows to cool the place down.

      Ever thought these people are living in a humid box of hell that NEEDS the AC running to vent fresh air extra?

  • +12 votes

    Well I assume the Aircon, like all other services to his apartment (including 4 walls and a roof), was being included in his rent calculation. Wouldn't that mean he didn't receive what he was paying for?

    • Yes, you are right! It is simple to understand, really as units with air con command higher rents than those without.

      • No he isn't. Things break, shit happens. Landlord fixed in a reasonable timeframe. You know how many things need getting fixed in rentals? do landlords need to keep a running tab of all the compensation they owe? This is so stupid your argument. Tenant took his time to report fault, landlord then did all he could to get it fixed and is doing so.

        Lysander - me thinks you need to go back to law school…. though you avoided saying you are a lawyer so I'm guessing your not. Just a smart arse who has been watching too much LA Law.

        • yes, and some tenants demand specific time e.g: only monday 1-3pm allow the technician to come and inspect and quote etc………

          so some tenant is already up for certain plan to seek compensation.

        • "You know how many things need getting fixed in rentals? do landlords need to keep a running tab of all the compensation they owe?"

          First of all, what the hell are you leasing out that requires fixing all the time? haha

          You are charging good rent for an entire "package". The property and its fixtures. The tenant is entitled to receive what they are paying for. End of story.

        • @zeggie:

          yes but at reasonable notice and reasonable time to fix. The landlord is not fairies that make things happen in one day.

        • Why do you not let us know where your legal knowledge comes from?
          So, a few weeks (which could be two but could also be six weeks) is a reasonable timeframe for you, especially in winter and maybe the tenant has a family including kids?
          How would you like it if your bank did not give you any money because they needed "a few" weeks to fix their systems? Surely you would not complain to the bank, would you? Or demand they fix it in say a day or two?

          I am guessing you are a landlord who is not happy with the obligations imposed by the law in these situations. Suck it up, dude. You are wrong.
          Pity I do not practise in Adelaide - would love to meet you in court and then hear you try your BS in court with the judge.

          P.S.: If so many things need to get fixed in rentals maybe the landlords are nasty and/or incompetent and should have fixed them BEFORE letting the unit/house. Ever thought about that?

          I make you the same offer as tizey: make a formal offer of indemnification to the OP (I am sure he will be happy with that) here on Ozbargain, I draw up the contract for free, and then we test your theory. Put your money where your mouth is.

        • @edgar28:

          and the tenants are not fairies that need to continue paying landlords full price when they are missing part of what their rent pays for.

          I know this from real life. Not just "opinions". Friend of mine's cooktop in their rental stopped working. Landlord/RE Agent dragged it on for 2 months. Even tried to give them a $10 gas camping thing from Rays outdoors. He kindly pointed out the box said its unsafe to use indoors. Eventually he put his foot down and they replaced it.

          At the end of the tenancy the landlord had the audacity to take him to VCAT over the property not being "clean" enough after he moved out and claiming there was pet hair on curtains despite he doesnt even own a pet. Only way to appeal and make sure it wasnt taken from the bond was to show up at VCAT. He took a day off work and went and the landlord didn't even show. Lost a days pay and wasted his time but got to keep his bond.

          So my friend pissed off he had to waste a day took the landlord to VCAT over the cooktop incident. This time the landlord did rock up. My friend was awarded money for EVERY single week he didn't have use of the cooktop.

        • @zeggie:
          How much was he awarded per week? A cooking device is also more important than a heating device…there are portable internal options available. And while I don't know about Victoria in NSW you need to mention previous tribunal visits regarding the property so the landlords previous no show would have put him in a pretty dim view from the tribunal member and put him on side with your tenant mate straight away.

          Dragging out 2 months for an essential item shows the tribunal you are deliberately not trying to fulfil your contract again putting them off side.

  • +10 votes

    The provision of an A/c in the ppty is included in the rent amount you have deemed appropriate to charge.

    The tenant is within their rights to ask for reduced rent for the period the A/c was not working.

    If it ends up at a tribunal mediation, and the tenant can prove the A/c was not working for the period they claim, they will likely be awarded a reduced amount of rent for that period - which you either reimburse or credit toward future rent owed (if you haven't kicked them out by then !)

    • And if it goes to court (not a tribunal) the OP will have to bear court costs as loser. The tenant can choose to take the OP to magistrate court rather than a tribunal.

      • At which point the magistrate will be very annoyed for it not being deal with at the tribunal. Again you are wrong. These matters are heard in the tribunal and can then be appealed to the District court.

        • nicksinternet you are a superb keyboard legal expert. Please explain with evidence why something like this would need to be heard in a tribunal first?

        • Dude, you really have issues. I guess all these times I was lucky that the magistrates did not get annoyed and kick me out of court.
          Tribunals are low cost alternatives (the people presiding there are not lawyers, some not even formally legally trained), if I choose to pay of course I can go to court.

  • Lysander has basically got it right. The tenant is entitled to a working AC unit as this was supplied with the unit. Heating in Sydney at this time of year is important.

    Some online information available at Fair Trading and the Tenants Union.

    Take a look at the repairs sections:
    http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/Tenants_and_home_owner...?
    http://www.tenants.org.au/factsheet-06-repairs-and-maintenan...

    Failure of AC is classed as an Urgent Repair so it isn't a trivial matter.

    As for compensation. I'd suggest you come to some arrangement with the tenant as this is the easy option but you can always go to the tribunal.

    Edit: the timeline of when the tenant notified the agent or landlord is very important.

    • Thank you. It seems people really do not care about the law here. Funny as when it comes to companies issuing refunds, not delivering most of the same people now adovacting the tenant is wrong argue or would argue that they have a right against the companies (of course, very few have the courage to enforce such rights by taking the companies to court).
      Why is it different in a real estate context? I suppose people are either landlords or tenants and their view depends on that.
      Anyway, thanks for providing the links. Maybe that will convince some people here.
      Signing off now.

  • OP, are you sure Tenant was not reporting it to the agency before?
    Given it is winter time now and aircon was not working for weeks and it is in Tenat’s interest to have it fixed (bloody cold inside)…
    May be he reported this and agency did not distribute this to you? Can happen…

    Similar situation here. Aircon was working when we moved in, but then stopped cooling the air.
    We reported to the agency. Luckily, it was end of the summer. We had to wait for aircon to arrive from somewhere, Landlord bought it on Philips island (or something), as agent told us. They had it installed, we did not claim any compensation. as I said - there was no much need in aircon. but if it was winter time or summer - I would.
    understand when people try to buy things cheaper, and was happy to wait since we did not use aircon much that time (end of summer). but if it was really cold or hot and aircon was needed most, then it would not bother me if Landlord was trying to save money - it had to be there working. Bought in the shop which could deliver it next day. simple as that.

    Good luck with resolving this, but I am with those who say that aircon in working condition was part of the contract hence tenants is entitled for the compensation.

  • I think what we've all learned here is that opinions vary greatly on this subject.

    I'd be interested to know what law / clause the tenant is quoting. Personally, I think the tenant is a chancer & probably won't pursue the matter if their claim is denied by the landlord.

    Probably being the operative word there.

    I'm sure that Lysander has a point and if you're at all worried that your tenant has a successful claim then the only smart thing to do is to seek some legal advice.

  • [BTW, this apartment is near CBD Sydney and it is not in a "cold climate area" of Australia.]

    It's been cold and miserable the last few weeks in Sydney. I'd be annoyed too if I was the tenant.

    • I think the issue is that the tenant delayed notifying the landlord and then suddenly demanded everything fixed immediately along with compensation for how long its been faulty.

      If I was the landlord, I would just pay the repair, give a small discount on rent and make sure the tenant vacates when the lease is up.

      I would not want to have a tenant who delays notifying you of an issue then suddenly demand compo out of the blue. They will be out of the door immediately and no reference provided.

      It should be a give and take relationship. You stay at my place, you pay. Something broken? I'll fix it asap but dont expect money for something you've never brought up.

      • I doubt the tenant is wanting anything prior to reporting it. We only have one side of the story remember.

        • we are here giving opinions on the story/ situation, not judging the accuracy of the story.
          If so, every post in the forum would be "how true is this story" , "it's not truthful, no opinion given"

  • Lysander.. yep your right should've realized air cons are heaters too.. my mistake

  • i think its best if you look a bit harder at what your exact legal responsibilities are yourself.
    I think up here in Darwin you must give the landlord written notification that there is something wrong. If after 2 weeks nothing changes then you are able to withhold rent.
    http://www.consumeraffairs.nt.gov.au/Australian%20Consumer%2...
    But after reading this i see that i was wrong. Best to look whats relevant to you and probably skip the ozbargain oppinion part when this is a bit more serious then whats the best TV for me.

  • In this thread: we learn that air conditioners are actually used as heaters as well and we suspect that Lysander IS the tenant claiming compensation.

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