Air-conditioning can be crucial for a business and its office. If you leased premises or are about to lease premises, it is important to make sure that you understand your rights and obligations with respect to air-conditioning. Your rights and obligations are specified under your lease.
In a recent Victorian case, it was held that the landlord repudiated the retail lease as it failed to install air-conditioning in a timely manner. The lease required the Landlord to install air conditioning which included recommissioning the air conditioning already in place. The tenant had made repeated requests for the landlord to provide the air conditioning. Six months after the lease commenced the landlord had not installed the air conditioning and the tenant was able to terminate the lease. This case is particular on its facts but gives us insight into what to do.
What to do before you sign a lease and take possession?
Have the air conditioning checked by an expert, and get a condition report before you sign the lease and take possession.
Is the air conditioning working?
Is it sufficient for the premises?
Is it in good repair?
Give a copy of the report to the other party. If there are problems get them fixed before the lease starts.
If the lease is a retail lease then tenants have greater protections under the Retail Leases Act.
What to do during the term of the lease?
Tenants may be required to maintain and repair the air-conditioning. We advise tenants to enter into a regular maintenance contract with licensed tradespeople to service the air-conditioning in accordance with the obligations under the lease. The lease must also indicate whether the landlord is providing an air-conditioned location and if so whether it is the landlord who is responsible for any substantial or capital repair or replacement of the air-conditioning unit. This will make it easier to work out who has to fix what if there is a problem.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.