Installing a phone line – who pays?

Sometimes a property that is brand new does not have a physical phone line installed. This prompts the question of who must foot the bill to have one put in. 

The answer lies in clause 43(1) of the Standard Residential Tenancy Terms. This clause clearly states that the lessor must pay for ‘any physical installation of services (e.g. water, electricity, gas, telephone line)’.

On this basis, then, a lessor has the responsibility of paying for the installation of a phone line. The first step is to contact the lessor (in writing is best) and explain that this is the case and why. If this fails to get results, the tenant has the option of seeking orders at the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

NB: This situation is not to be confused with one where the existing telephone simply needs to be connected in the tenant’s name clause 43(2) makes it clear that the tenant must pay for this if they want it.

Information reviewed 4/12/13

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