nbn Connection Box Removed. Should The Landlord Pay for Temporary Internet Connection?

Hi all,

I have a question regarding who should wear the costs resulted from a missing connection box stolen/taken by landlord/prev tenant without notifying the upcoming tenants. The details are as follows:

  • We signed a rental contract, which starts on 10 Jul 2020

  • We organised NBN HFC internet connection on 21 Jun 2020, everything was set for moving in date. The NBN internet connection requires a connection box that was supplied and previously installed in the property. The connection box is property-specific and must not be removed from the property. However, the connection box was removed from the property by previous tenant/landlord.

  • The real estate agent/landlord failed to inform this to me ~until I asked on 8 Jul 2020~ although I did ask more than a week ago, they only responded on Wednesday 8 Juk, 2 days before moving in.

  • The internet installation is now delayed up to a week due to the missing connection box.

  • I work from home and internet is a must, not to say my wife and kids. I will have to buy a temporary internet service while waiting for installation scheduled for next week.

  • The installation could have been further delayed ~if I didn't ask the agent on 8 Jul 2020~ if the agent didn't respond to my question on 8 Jul 2020, which I asked last week, about the connection box. Other tenants in similar situation might get caught on this easily and can suffer greater delay.

  • The landlord refuses to compensate me the cost of the temporary internet connection.
    My question: should the landlord compensate me the cost of the temporary internet connection giving that they took away required connection box and failed to notify upcoming tenants?

This happens quite often as I was told by Aussie Broadband, there are some cases people got compensated by their landlord, am I unreasonable? Example: https://www.reddit.com/r/nbn/comments/a10zk9/missing_nbn_hfc...

Here is a reply from NBN:
"The nbn equipment installed at your premises is provided and owned by nbn and remains the property of nbn. Removing it is considered tampering with a Telecommunications Network, which is a Federal Offence. Should the equipment have been damaged by the person who removed it then the replacement costs will need to be recovered from them by nbn."

- Updated my question to make it clearer
- My position is landlord should compensate something. I am just uncomfortable to pay for someone’s acts. They should have at least informed me earlier so that I could arrange NBN to come earlier.
- I actually did ask them about the box more than a week before start date but took them a week to respond back and it’s 2 days before moving in.

A bit extra information:
- ISP usually checks if a new connection is required nbn technician visit, whom will bring the connection box with them if it’s not installed before. In my case, poi check returns class 24 that meant the box had been installed previously, confirmed at order time as well as via phone support.
- The connection box will not be sent automatically on a new connection. You would need to know whether you need it or not and call up. I would expect majority of renters wouldn’t know what it is, not to say know whether it’s required for connection or not.
- Can confirm landlord lived here previously so no previous tenants.
- My main drive is not really $$, it’s more about annoyance/inconvenience, looking at the timeline below, you might get why I am frustrated:
- Internet arranged 3 weeks before moving date, confirmed by ISP no equipment or technician visit needed
+ Asked agent 9 days prior moving date, got answered only 2 days prior moving date
+ Called Aussie BB immediately to schedule technician visit, could only get earliest appointment 9 days later, a week after moving date.

Poll Options expired

  • 193
    You Pay
  • 100
    Landlord must compensate a reasonable amount, i.e. < $100


  • Are you talking about the box outside, or the NTD inside the house?

  • Does your lease agreement mention that there is NBN hardware provided? If no then I don't see how your landlord is liable to pay for your interim 4G connection. Yes it's inconvinient that you have to wait a week or two for service but that's often the case when moving anyway.

    • No, it is not mentioned. But the landlord/prev tenant has taken away the connection box which must not be removed by anyone, and is required for any future internet connection.

      This is like gas, or electricity, you organised connections a few weeks before hand and until you move in, you realised the connection won't occur due to something has been done by previous tenants/landlord. Nowadays, internet is pretty much essential utility, especially during this COVID-19.

      I am just uncomfortable that we're going to suffer the loss due to someone's act.

      • +18 votes

        If the agreement or the advert did not say the property was NBN ready on day 1, then you shouldn't expect the landlord to pay for a week's delay.

        It was up to you when you inspected the property to make sure the box was there.

        What if there was never an active NBN connection at the property? This delay would've happened even in that case. NBN only supplies the Arris modems when someone orders a connection and not when the coax wire is connected to the property.

        Yes, internet is an essential utility but unlike water/ gas/ electricity, it can be got in different ways including wireless broadband and NBN.

        Also, if you had to spend money to replace the stolen modem, then you should expect the landlord to reimburse you.

        Maybe you could buy one on the internet?

      • Weird years ago that happened to me previous tenant took it with them, I called up I think it was NBN and they just gave me a new box when the NBN installers came out for free.

  • Landlord should compensate, because he or she should know that they do not own the modem and that the modem is property of NBN Co.

    You are required to leave the nbn™ supplied equipment such as the connection box and cables as they are (it’s important to note that this is a legal requirement).

    Moving in

    If you’re moving into a premises that’s connected to the nbn™ access network and you discover the nbn™ supplied equipment has been removed, the next step will be for you to speak directly to your phone or internet provider.


    • Yeah, I had to call up Aussie Broadband to organise a NBN visit. I gave agents a call last week and asked them to check, which they could only get back to me yesterday that the box is not there… I should have gone ahead asking for NBN to come last week.

  • I assume your landlord is covering the replacement NBN box?

  • What is the cost for NBNCo to supply and install a replacement network termination device?

  • How much is the box?

  • My question: should the landlord compensate me the cost of the temporary internet connection giving that they took away required connection box and failed to notify upcoming tenants?

    How much compensation are you seeking? How much are you paying for your internet now?
    If it's like $30 a month then it's reasonable. Obviously you can't expect your landlord to cover for Terabytes of mobile data.

    • No mate, certainly not, just something that we can survive until got connected. I am just uncomfortable to pay for someone’s action. Got the same box in current house it says very clear that box belongs to nbn and must not be removed :-/

      • Who is someone? If you sue them there will need to be a party, landlord? Ex tenant? Agent?

        Just something to consider when you submit your claim if it is to go that path.

        Time you need to spend will well over $30. The application to NCAT itself is $50

  • Why would the landlord remove it? Even if they did, why would they not give it to you now?

    The most logical answer is that the previous tenant took it. Zero compensation for you in my view.

    • A bit unfair if the prev tenant took it, and they paid rent to landlord not me and now I wear the loss.

      • Life's unfair. It's a week, far out you are a bit over the top. If I had a tenant who was wanting compensation over a box I had nothing to do with for a week's internet, the rent would be going up at the end of the lease.

        • Totally appreciate your comment! I am not prepared to go hard on this, not worth my time as well as future tenant-landlord relationship. I have lived in my current house for 5 years and landlord did only increase the rent once after the first year so I know how important the relationship would be.

          • @dragonxx: OP u for real? The landlord rented the place to you for 5 years and only increased the rent ONCE yet you are here wanting to get advice to get them compensate you a week worth of internet..Unbelievable…

            • @sauce2k: @sauce2k you know why he didn’t increase rent? Because basically all the small maintenance I did all my self and didn’t bother him, sometimes not even a call in a year. rent was always paid on time. This is what he told me: because you are a low maintenance tenant, and it’s a win-win situation for both you and me.

          • @dragonxx: If that is the case, just get a couple of Kogan vouchers and a $2 sims. You are looking at $5 max for ur interim connection and you can use it immediately.

        • Except it's literally your obligation as a landlord to make sure it's there. Same as the water metre. You don't get to drool your way out of "life's unfair, it's just a week of no water" because you couldn't do a proper inspection after your last tenant left.

          It's people like you that get smeared on the walls in tribunals. Good luck trying to argue that internet is not a critical part of the home during COVID. I'm sure that whatever rent your tenant withholds from you will be released by the tribunal in full. Right?

    • It's always possible they did leave it and a tech-ignorant landlord thought it belonged to them and chucked it rather than deal with tracking them down to return it.

  • Let the RE agent know that you are filing a police report for theft of NBN equipment from your leased property prior to your occupation. Ask him to notify the landlord and previous tenants as they may be required to provide a statement. The NBN equipment might suddenly re-appear.

  • From what I understand, the NBN box must not be removed and therefore the landlord needs to replace it.

    If it were one of my rental properties, I'd be pressing the real estate agent, given that they do the outgoing inspection.

    Also, they'd have the contact details of the previous tenant (and the bond).

  • The NBN Box is address-specific, so there is no benefit for the previous person to steal it. I'd say it's an accident either by themselves or the Removalist or friends who help them move. If the REA can track them down would be good.
    Each time our Tenants install NBN, we told them that the Black Box is to remain in the house. I am even thinking of printing a Sticker to say "DO Not Remove".
    Ultimately, I'd blame NBN for designing such a device. If it is meant to be fixed, they should have it fixed or have it high up on the ceiling or roof so that nobody can touch it. It is already annoying enough that it requires an extra powerpoint.

    • They're not strictly address-specific, you can plug in a HFC modem practically anywhere and it will work. Maybe the old tenants thought they would get free internet by using after they left, not knowing that it will be de-authed when a new modem gets issued.

      • NBN modems are registered to a specific address and will not work at another address. People mistakenly take them when they move out, the Internet provider books an appointment with NBN and they come out and install a new one at no cost.

        • They work anywhere on the network, there's no line-based security because it's a shared medium. The modem authenticates using its MAC address, as long as there's an associated active account they're usable anywhere.

          • @ssquid: It’s a property specific and bounded to the property, confirmed by aussie broadband.

            • @dragonxx: The account is linked to the property. I can assure you the modem is not - the connection point in one house connects to the same trunk cable as the house next door, there is absolutely no way the authentication server can tell which house the modem is plugged in at.

  • You can get 45gb for $15 on Vodafone this week at Coles. Surely there’s an old phone somewhere in your house that you can use as a hotspot? If it’s only gonna take a week, you may only need 1-2 of these to get through.

    If you legitimately do not have an old device (or take away a kids phone for the week) you can use as a hotspot, then sure, go for a dongle. But I’d be minimising costs where possible in the event that they don’t pay up.

  • My question: should the landlord compensate me the cost of the temporary internet connection giving that they took away required connection box and failed to notify upcoming tenants?

    Short answer : No

    Long answer, the replacement box is free. You'll live. Hotspot of your phone for a week. The landlord didn't 'rent' you internet, so this not working for a week isn't THEIR issue.

  • I guess if someone stole the stove from the house I rent out, I would ask for it to be returned post haste or I make take some of the bond. However, the NBN box is not owned by me and it is not my goods that have been stolen. I wonder whether the RTA would support bond being withheld or tell me that it is between the Tennant and the NBN/ RSP? I would guess the later.

  • How much compensation should someone get for something that is free? Face value.

    • I am not asking for compensation for the box, asking for compensation for the temp internet as the required box is missing by either previous tenant or landlord.

      • The party that removed the item may be liable. You may be able to get make a claim against them if you can identify them.

  • Got similar experience when the previous owner of my home took the NTD with them before we moved in. I mentioned this to Aussie BB when signing up with them and they somehow arranged with NBN to provide me a new NTD. Took few days only.

  • I dunno - everyone is saying it's not the landlords problem, but maybe due to the legal obligation to leave it there it is their responsibly.

    My reasoning is that it's similar to the previous tenant removing the power meter, or water meter. These are owned by government and attached to the property and legally required to be provided as part of a rental lease. The landlord may be responsible for not realising that the NBN box had been removed by the previous tenant when they did the exit inspection and also failing to replace it prior to the new lease commencing - exactly as they would be held responsible for a power or water meter not being present.

    A separate question is whether or not OP would be wasting their time pursuing compensation.

    • How would a landlord know if there is a NBN box and connection in the property? I do not know if my tenant has a NBN box in the property and tenant never ask me about. NBN not even available in all area yet.

      • Well I imagine now that it's becoming standard, you are meant to check it just like any other service that can't be removed from the property. It's the landlords business to know if the property has been connected.

        I just typed my address into NBNco and it says I'm connected already. Doesn't seem very difficult. So on the exit inspection the landlord or agent should check if the property is connected to NBN and if it is, check the box has been left at the property. It should be a routine check these days.

        I mean you wouldn't expect a new tenant to pay for a water or power meter that had been removed from the property. This is no different.

  • Sign up for vodafone NBN and they’ll give you a wireless router in store on the spot that has a 4g connection you can use for free until nbn activated

  • NBN says the box is free? Awesome. Pass on the love to your landlord. A good relationship with them is worth far more than $30 to try to recover 4G "inconvenience" costs from your landlord on day 1. If they raise your rent $5 per month, that alone is $60.

  • +4 votes

    I was in this same exact situation two years ago. I called my isp and they got an NBN guy to come out and put a new one in at no cost.

    Edit Wait, you want compensation because you "have" to pay for a dongle? Can't you just tether your phone? Ask your neighbor if you can borrow their WiFi perhaps?
    There are other solutions and it is not the landlords responsibility to provide a line connection, that's on you to find out prior to moving in.
    If the internet is required because of your job it would make more sense to get the company you work for to reimburse you or claim it on tax.
    Before NBN came around, especially if you lived in a smaller town, the internet might take four weeks to get connected and you just had to suck it up.

  • i had a similar situation recently (2 weeks ago). just moved into an apartment i bought and was told the previous tenant took the NTD box with them back to Orange (so unable to just pop over to their place and retrieve it).
    on top of all that i found out that strata decided to remove the cable that goes into the unit as it was 'an eyesore'. the apartment was on level 6 so i was thinking it would take ages for this whole process to be worked out.
    i bought a 90 day 60gb Catch connect sim (don't think they are available anymore) and used an old phone to hotspot for work. a couple of phone calls with TPG and they organised a NBN technician to come out and install. he came, didn't realise the extent of the issue as no one told him, and fixed everything (wired the cable in, drilled holes to place cable according to strata directions, the lot).
    all up i was without internet for 1 week and all it cost me was a $15 sim card. i also got pretty lucky getting the most efficient NBN technician available.

    in regards to your situation, i understand that you want the agent/landlord to compensate you, but think about it from their point of view. how much time and effort can they really go to to track down the missing NTD box. and they couldn't just get you another one without signing up to a NBN plan as NBN only deal with the providers.

    i was shitty at the time in regards to my situation, but all in all it could of been worse.

  • Hello dragonxx, sorry to hear your unfortunate incident. all i could advice is get a new NBN connection with Belong https://www.belong.com.au/broadband/nbn

    they give a $80 credit on a new SIM card that you can use while your new connection is being set up. A bit of a compensation to help you out for the weeks of disruption during your work from home while the things get sorted out.

  • I literally just went through this in a move. As part of my process I checked with the RE that the HFC box was on-site… It was not, so the RE chased the previous tenants and all was well by the time I moved in.

    I think you need to take some responsibility in this as well, you went to the effort of arranging the internet weeks in advance, why not double check that critical equipment was in place?

    Should the landlord pay? No, I would suggest not unless they went and intentionally did this. I hate this new emerging trend that everyone should be compensated for everything, particularly when you could have taken steps to rectify the situation weeks in advance.

    Just my 2 cents…

    • This. Did you do an inspection? Was the box present then? If it is so important, you should have checked.

      Don't think the landlord has got anything to do with it unless they were the one who took it. Even then it's up to Nbn to pursue this.

    • I actually did ask them more than a week ago about the box and didn’t get a reply until 2 days ago. I should’ve assumed it’s not there and called up nbn earlier.

  • I've been in the exact same situation as you OP — except the landlord gave me no notice whatsoever.

    My advice is get over it. The new box is free and NBN are pretty quick about installing another one. As others have said, seeking nominal compensation is not worth souring your relationship with your landlord at the beginning of your tenancy. You and your wife (and possibly your child) probably have enough mobile data to tether your phones and work from home for a week or two without issue. I assume you only need internet for email and Zoom as you didn't specify otherwise in your OP (and given you're already feeling hard done by, I suspect you would have mentioned if your job required you to use an unusually high volume of data).

    Grit your teeth and lay off the Netlfix for a few days if you need to. Absolute worst case scenario you can easily purchase a 4G SIM off contract with 100GB data/mth for <$30 (Circles.life is a good start).

    The NBN contractor who installed my new box says this happens all the time. Often the landlord / prev tenant aren't at fault — apparently end-of-lease cleaners often think they're junk and throw them in the bin.

    • Yes, my last end of lease cleaners threw away lots of stuff like old manuals.

    • Yep, get over it is the best advice. Internet connection issues are just part of the joys of moving house. and I thought leases often said the landlord makes no guarantees about availability of any telecommunications services.

      The supermarkets usually have heavily discounted SIM card starter packs, see who has the best deal and buy one or two. Use an old phone to setup a hot spot and problem sorted. Given you say you need it for work, then claim it back on tax (assuming you aren't using the flat rate method already).

  • Sign up to NBN with Telstra, Optus or Vodafone. They'll send a modem with 4G back up in 2 days which you can use from the day you receive it. However, why try to solve the problem when you can blame someone and get them to pay?

  • Landlord pays, then landlord chases after previous tenant.

    How to go about - pay up front, and seek reimbursement. If they refused, go to tribunal.

  • I worked in NBN HFC space and you shouldn't be paying anything.
    Literally it's a standard covered Install just requiring tech to go out and plug in ntd. same crap happens if you moved in and previous tenant hadn't disconnected which happens often. Ntd won't work for you so we go there, disconnect existing laughingly place it in the bin and put new 1 in. I've never heard of both versions of these events any customer being charged. ONLY new estates for a first connection. As otheres mentioned this had nothing to do with landlord. Almost all the time the realestates have absolutely no idea about NBN or related devices

  • You are making an assumption that the rental unit is NBN ready but is it specified in the lease? The landlord is only responsible for its replacement but not to the inconvenience/damage caused to you.

  • If the ad said the house was set up for nbn, you could ask the landlord to pay or to get the previous tenant to return it. If not, you have to wear it.

  • OP assumes the landlord has taken the NTD. Why would they bother? If anything NBN's fault for not putting in something bolted down like just a wall socket that you can plug model into.

    Is there a second hand market for these as they come for free?

    • Nope. They have a hardcoded ID (MAC address) that is used to tie them to accounts (which correspond to specific addresses/locations) and the only way to get a new one registered is if NBNCo provides it. So once they get "detached" from their home they're basically useless.

  • I feel your annoyance.
    We won't have so many such issues if only the said NBN property is not such a small loose item that looks and feels the same as any other tech gadgets.

    • Maybe they should have issued every man & woman with one when they rolled out NBN. If they need a new one they get charged, you know like a kick start to life kit but if you lose it… should you be trusted with anything of value in life?

    • +2 votes

      Even the FTTP NTD gets ripped out. You can't win.

  • +2 votes

    Is this post and all the replies worthy of the time spent ?

  • lol, I see this box popped up on gumtree everynow and then, some even have the courage to ask for 3 figure number. The box will get replaced free anyway, I have a spare one sittings around last time when Fibremax was clueless about their service and order a tech visit, the guy just swapped out for no reason, probably just an excuse to milk some from NBNCo

  • Top