Inadequate heating – what can I do?

Broken heating

If the property was provided with heaters or a heating system, these have to be provided and maintained in a reasonable state of repair.  This is the landlord’s responsibility, and the landlord is in breach of your lease if they don’t comply.  A failure or breakdown of any service on the premises essential for heating is an urgent repair under clause 60 of the Standard Lease terms, which apply to all Canberra tenancies.

  • Read our Factsheet: Repairs for more information on getting repairs done.
  • Read our Factsheet: Rent Increases and Reductions for information on rent reductions.  You may be able to negotiate for a rent reduction from when the heating didn’t work until it is fixed.  If the landlord or agent doesn’t agree, you can apply for a rent reduction order from the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
  • Read our Sample Letter: Repairs for suggestions on how to write to your landlord or agent to get repairs done.

False or misleading statement

If the landlord or agent tells you, before you sign the lease, that the property has heating, or a particular type of heating, or will have heating installed, they have to follow through on that.  Otherwise, if a false or misleading statement by the landlord or agent induced you to enter the tenancy, this may be serious enough for the Tribunal to end the tenancy.  A tenant can apply to the Tribunal for a termination order on the basis of a false or misleading statement under section 46 of the Residential Tenancies Act.  Call the Tenants’ Advice Service for more information.

No heating or no insulation

If the property was provided without heating or insulation in the first place, this is more difficult.  There is no specific requirement for heating or insulation under the Residential Tenancies Act.   The ACT Greens are campaigning to change this (see below).

Under current law, rental premises do have to be habitable, and if a fault is likely to cause injury to a person, the landlord has to fix it as an urgent repair.  Newer properties are also required to meet certain standards under the Building Code.  Contact the Tenants’ Advice Service for more information.

Campaign for rental standards

The ACT Greens did attempt to include minimum standards in the Residential Tenancies Act.  They were not successful with their bill that would require rented properties to meet minimum energy efficiency, water efficiency and security standards.  The information will be used by the TU in the future in terms of lobbying for changes to our legislation

  • For more information on the campaign or to get involved, see Fair Go Rentals.
  • If you have a story that helps show the need for minimum standards, contact the ACT Greens.  Go to their Fair Go Rentals campaign page on Facebook.

Reviewed: 4/12/13

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Tenants’ Union ACT publishes this website as a free service to the public.

This website provides information about the law designed to help users understand their legal rights and obligations. However legal information is not the same as legal advice (the application of law to an individual's specific circumstances). Although we make all efforts to ensure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult the Tenants Advice Service for advice specific to your circumstances. You are also free to consult an independent solicitor for a second opinion.

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