17 Dec 2017

The National Broadband Network (NBN) – we’ve all heard of it and everyone wants it, right?

NBN is a national initiative funded by the Federal Government to provide us with a rapid and reliable connection to the internet. In the early stages of the roll out some areas were being

connected free from fee, unfortunately not always the case now.A large amount of new builds has seen the developer or builder already fit out the property with NBN router boxes in preparation for NBN. However, once installed the NBN are charging a $30 initial activation fee to connect. In the event that the NBN, has not been rolled out to your suburb, the internet solutions will remain copper-based, being cable or ADSL, for which a telephone landline will be required.

With most new developments, phone points are installed internally to the property but there isn’t an active phone line running from the sub-station to the apartment. This landline connection

service comes at a cost of $299, along with an additional general connection fee paid by the tenant and usually invoiced on their first telephone bill.Now here’s the question that’s become an ongoing debate – who’s responsibility is it to pay for both these charges relating to activation and connection? Who pays the NBN’s $300 initial activation fee and who is responsible for covering the $299 fixed telephone line connection service where ADSL is required?

The short answer is it’s a grey area, but also what complicates the answer is – does the property have an alternative – is NBN the only option for internet to the property, is it an upgrade or a necessity?

Also, worth noting is in time NBN will replace ADSL Copper-based internet as the only lternative, and if that is the case then it is more reasonable to expect the cost to be borne by the lessor.  In the situation where there is a choice, it is suggested that landlord and tenant attempt to negotiate on who will bear the cost of these initial NBN connection fees. Given that these are one-off expenses that logically provide permanent improvement to the property, many owners are more than happy to cover the cost.If your office is using Realworks, then section 4.8 of the Essential Terms and Conditions of the Form 6 states that the client must pay for the installation of the first telephone line to the Property. If NBN is the only source of connection then it is reasonable to assume this include NBN connection. If your client, the lessor, has been clear in his/her instructions that they will not cover this cost then this should be outlined in the General Tenancy Agreement (18a) which is provided to the prospective tenant before committing them to the tenancy.

In the event a dispute arises over responsibility to pay, tenants can apply to the RTA for a dispute resolution and if unresolved may proceed to QCAT for a determination. As always for self-education purposes - previous published QCAT rulings can be accessed for review at the Supreme Court Library Queensland -http://www.sclqld.org.au/caselaw/QCATNote: The Property Management Support Service team together with the REIQ legal team are currently in consultation to review the Form 18a General Tenancy Agreement special terms together with the PO Form 6 (property management) essential terms and conditions. NBN is one of the issues which is being addressed in this review. It is REIQ’s intention to have the review completed next month with the new version of the documents available on Realworks as soon as the processing permits.

 

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