Summer is on the way and that means many of us will be turning on the trusty AC to keep cool. Who is responsible for maintaining and repairing an air conditioner in a rental property though?
Air conditioners are the joint responsibility of the landlord and tenant. David Ellingsen from Metropolitan Air Conditioning breaks down who is responsible for what in this arrangement so we can all do our part to beat the heat this summer.
Are landlords required to provide air conditioning?
Living in Australia, you'd be forgiven for thinking that having an air conditioner in a rental property is required. It can get unbearably hot during our summers without one.
No state in Australia mandates that a landlord must provide air conditioning. Victoria and Tasmania require heaters to be placed in living rooms but no such requirements are there for an air conditioning system.
Landlords in Victoria need to have a fixed heater in "good working order" in the main living room as of March 2021. As of 29 March 2023, this heater needs to meet energy efficiency standards too. This can include a heat pump, gas space heater, ducted heating, hydronic heating, or even a fireplace.
Tasmania is subject to similar requirements but is yet to introduce energy efficiency standards.
Landlords want their tenants to renew their lease to maintain a regular income. So in rental properties where there is no air conditioner, it's worth considering installing one if a tenant requests it.
As a tenant, it's important you consider that your landlord might not have the funds to install one right then and there too. Offering to pay additional rent to cover the costs or foot some of the bill yourself can go a long way in landing you that new air con.
If your request for an air conditioner installation is denied, you can always get yourself a portable air conditioner and maintenance and repairs are entirely up to you.
Is the landlord responsible for cleaning air conditioner filters?
No, a landlord is not responsible for cleaning air conditioner filters. This falls under the tenant's responsibility of keeping the property reasonably clean and free from hazards.
Landlords are generally responsible for a clean at the beginning of a new tenancy so the property is ready for the new tenant. Thankfully, most air conditioner filters are easy to clean and can easily be done two to four times a year by the tenant.
As a renter, it's also in your best interests to keep these filters clean for your own health as well as preventing faults caused by user error.
Who's responsible for air conditioner repairs?
The responsibility for air conditioning repairs comes down to why it needs repairs in the first place. Where the tenant is at fault for failing to keep up with air conditioner maintenance as per the manufacturer's recommendations or due to user error, then repairs fall on the tenant.
When repairs are required due to wear and tear over time, then property owners are responsible for repairs. Legislation is largely the same across Australia and requires that landlords are responsible for keeping fittings and appliances included in the rental property in working order. You can find out the specific responsibilities for your state/territory here:
For general repairs, the landlord is required to have repairs carried out in a reasonable time frame. As a renter, you can arrange urgent repairs yourself if they are not done by your landlord in a reasonable time and there has been an effort on your end to have the landlord arrange this.
Each state varies in how the renter is compensated for these repairs. If you are in NSW, then your landlord will need to reimburse you up to $1,000. Victorians who need repairs up to $2,500 are paid back a reasonable cost for repairs by the property owner. If you're in the Northern Territory, then you can negotiate a reduced rent to compensate.
When repairs are inevitably required, it's important you hire a fully licensed and experienced air conditioning technician to do the job right. With all this said, you're all set to chill out this summer whether you're a renter or a landlord.
This is a sponsored post.
David Ellingsen is the founder and owner of Metropolitan Plumbing, Electrical and Air Conditioning. Started in 1997, Metropolitan is well known for its iconic dripping tap ad and bright blue vans.
Disclaimer: while due care is taken, the viewpoints expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Your Investment Property.