Emergency repairs are very crucial. However, most people may not understand what is considered to be an urgent repair and what is a non-urgent repair. Therefore, many misunderstandings occur between landlords and their tenants on the categorization of these repairs. The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 Section 72 gives a list of what should be considered as an urgent repair. Some of the non-questionable ones include burst water service, a gas leak, electric faults that may be dangerous, and flooding just to name a few. Generally, urgent repairs are considered so because failure to fix them would lead to unsafe living conditions that may become a health hazard. This, therefore, brings in the question of whether air conditioning should be considered as an urgent repair. This understanding is very important for all tenants and noting that the regulations may vary from state to state is necessary.
Air Conditioning, Urgent or Non-Urgent?
According to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, problems encountered with your air conditioning are not considered to be urgent repairs. Many 24-hour Emergency Service agencies, therefore, do not consider this as an urgent emergency and therefore one should follow the ordinary procedures for requesting day-to-day repairs in your home. However, it should be noted that this act and the grouping of air-conditioning as a non-urgent repair is not fixed. This is because we have many instances that may make the lack of air conditioning facilities a danger or a huge inconvenience. This then requires the landlords and emergency services companies to reconsider the status of air conditioning.
Exceptions That Make Air Conditioning an Urgent Repair
To determine this, a common sense audit should be done where one determines if the lack of an air conditioner is likely to bring about damage or injury to an individual if the property is likely to be damaged, and finally if the matter will bring about the undue inconvenience to the person.
The weather outside may be a great determinant of whether air conditioning becomes an urgent or non-urgent emergency. If it is during the summer season and the temperatures are above 90 degrees, this can lead to a high level of discomfort and can therefore be grouped as an urgent emergency. A good example is the Australian summer heat that can make living unbearable especially if one has children or is living with the elderly.
If we also look at a scenario where an individual has a job and his shifts are at night. This person after a long night would need to come home during the day and be able to rest despite the scorching summer heat. If the building does not offer any other alternatives to the tenant when the air conditioner breaks down, for example, a fan or any other cooling mechanism, this problem will cause a lot of inconvenience to the tenant. This then is most likely to become an urgent emergency.
A different instance is when a tenant has a child with a medical condition. For example, if the child is prone to suffer from a heat rash during summer, this would necessitate the need for an air conditioner. Therefore, if it is not working then it can be grouped as an urgent emergency. There is also the question of the elderly where, in many cases, a lot of heat may cause dehydration or medical challenges. This also necessitates the need for air conditioning hence an urgent repair.
The situation should therefore first be assessed to determine whether an urgent repair is needed or a routine repair would be enough.
Steps To Take When the Situation Needs an Urgent Repair
Tenants, landlords, and property managers all have a certain role to act when a situation that requires urgent repair arises. As a tenant, you should report the situation to the property manager as soon as you notice there is an issue with the air conditioning. This may also include providing evidence that the lack of an air conditioning system is a danger or inconvenience. The property manager is then required to take immediate action on the situation to ensure that repairs should be made.
It is then noted that air conditioning repairs are in most cases not considered as urgent repairs. This, therefore, does not mean that as a tenant one should not request urgent services when the situation is bringing in inconvenience or if the health of the members of the house is at stake. In case the property managers delay in this, one can opt to seek alternative options that should be refunded by the landlords.