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NSW Property Law - Responsibility to the NBN Box?

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by kizez, 23 August 2016.

  1. kizez

    kizez Member

    23 August 2016
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    I'm currently renting in Sydney & would like to confirm as to who is responsible in looking after the NBN box between the owner & the tenant if this box is already installed in the premises prior to the tenant moving.

    For example, if the light is flashing on the NBN box stating it needs a new battery replacement.

    My agent says it's the tenant while the building manager states it is the owner.

    I initially thought that the NBN box is like the air condition installed in the apartment:
    • The maintenance of the air condition is the owner's responsibility but the electricity connection is the tenant's responsibility.
    • So the maintenance of the NBN box is the owner's responsibility but the telecommunications service is the tenant's responsibility.
    This is the clause that my agent kept referring me to in relation to my NBN box issue:
    • The tenant must satisfy itself as to the provisions of any electronic communication services to the premises (internet, television - analogue, digital or cable). The landlord gives no warranty in respect to the provisions or adequacy of such services to the premises.
    My understanding of the clause is more about the telecommunications service. However, my issue is more about the NBN box itself as the service that goes through the box is fine.

    The building manager also advised that all the apartments in the building have the NBN box installed that is why the owner is responsible for it.

    I'm just a bit confused & would very much appreciate some property law help in getting some clarification about this matter.

    Thank you.
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Guest

    It really depends on the nature of your agreement with the Landlord. You would need to find something in your lease agreement that entitles you to rely on the landlord to take care of the NBN box in your agreement with them. The building manager has nothing to do with your agreement with the landlord, so frankly whatever he says cannot be used as legal argument of your rights.

    But is the price of a battery really worth the bother?
  3. kizez

    kizez Member

    23 August 2016
    Likes Received:
    Hi Sophea,

    Thanks for your response.

    I'm just wondering in general if something happens to the NBN box itself as to who would be responsible for it.

    My understanding when it comes to chattel/fixtures is anything on the apartment prior to the tenant moving & owned by the landlord (e.g stove, dryer, airconditioner etc) would be the responsibility of the owner.

    So I thought that because the NBN box is owned by the landlord & already part of the apartment along with the other fixtures that it would be owner's responsibility as well.

    Is this not the case?

    Or does the NBN box fall into a different category altogether?
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

    27 May 2014
    Likes Received:
    This is still a developing area. The equipment will have been supplied by the NBN reseller to either the previous tenant or the landlord.

    If it is the landlord who obtained the equipment he may be responsible. Need to look at your tenancy agreement. It may be the landlord's equipment but not part of your tenancy agreement, in which case it is arguable as to who should pay.

    If it was a previous tenant that arranged the installation and equipment, then the landlord can say not mine and nothing to do with me.

    If the landlord denies it is his equipment, replace battery yourself and take it with you when you leave.
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  5. Sophea

    Sophea Guest

    I agree, if it's not specifically provided for in the lease, and no clause in the lease covers it, it is up for argument.
  6. Call911

    Call911 Member

    19 March 2017
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    After signing a lease and moving into a property, it's up to the landlord to maintain the property within reasonable expectation of the tenant as assumed working when they moved in. Just remember phone is not a necessity but the landlord however must maintain water, electricity and gas to a property.

    if you moved into a property and identified a phone socket on the wall (or in this case NBN's NTD equipment) you, as a potential renter when inspecting the property would assume the phone socket is in good working condition and suffice for transmitting phone signal across the cabling. If the wall socket is faulty, not allowing signalling to transmit over it, the landlord should be liable for cost of repairs.

    Renters these days are actually choosing to lease premises with NBN FTTH fitted due to the fact it's much more reliable than ADSL or VDSL NBN technology. In the telecommunications world there is whats called a Network Boundary Point (NBP) to where the ISP must guarantee and maintain a good working connection.There is different Network Boundary points dependant on the property type and technology used to get there.

    Where does the ISP responsibility end?


    Telephone Service (POTS) or ADSL/VDSL (NBN) within a stand alone house = First Wall Socket (or joint within the lead-in cable).

    Telephone Service (POTS) or ADSL/VDSL (NBN) within an apartment MDU = Main Distribution Frame (MDF)

    FTTH (Fibre delivered to the NTD BOX) within a stand alone house = NTD

    FTTH (Fibre delivered to the NTD BOX) within an apartment = NTD

    *All cabling beyond these points are deemed internal customer side cabling and will be the responsibility of the owner to maintain.

    ** Should a wall socket be present on the wall, the owner would be required to maintain the property for a working phone signal, and not required to repair should the fault relate to an internet speed or drop out issue.

    Should the battery backup have failed, the tenant could argue a medical condition, or (back to base) alarm system that requires the use of a battery backup. Failure to provide the battery backup could be potentially life threatening.

    If the tenant doesn't have these conditions, having a battery backup is pointless, because if you incur a blackout and assuming you don't have a Tesla powerwall battery backup installed in your premises - none of your devices will work anyway.

    Best suggestion moving forward for you, as this is still grey area with the multiple NBN technologies, is to apply common sense to the situation, by either disconnecting the battery backup (disabling) or contacting your local telephone technician to see if they can shed some light on the situation.

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