Residential tenancies

The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal recently awarded nearly $4,000 to tenants who claimed compensation for being unable to connect to Foxtel and because their air-conditioner was not working properly.

After being told by the agent that Foxtel would be available, the body corporate did not approve installation and the tenants were left paying for a service they could not use.

Last summer was very hot in Canberra with temperatures in excess of 30°C on more than half the days that the air conditioner wasn’t working.  They claimed it was too hot to eat inside the apartment, they were unable to sleep and their fish did not survive the warm water.   The agent claimed the tenant could have opened the windows and used a fan.

Applying the ACT Residential Tenancies Act, the Tribunal noted the lessor must maintain the premises in a reasonable state of repair having regard to its condition at the commencement of the tenancy agreement. The equivalent Northern Territory Act requires the premises to be kept in a reasonable state of repair, having regard to their age, character and prospective life.  Defects must be repaired with reasonable diligence.

The Tribunal accepted the tenants relied on what the agent told them about Foxtel.   The Tribunal awarded them five months subscription to Foxtel and 65% of the rent paid during the hottest months.

Aside of this, air conditioner noise can also cause issues.  If it has an adverse effect on the amenity of an area and unreasonably interferes with the enjoyment of the area by person, then, air conditioner noise can constitute environmental nuisance under the NT Waste Management and Pollution Control Act.