(1) Is topping up of aircon gas the responsibility of owners?
From time to time, our associate Registered ResidentAgent®s receive bills from tenants asking them to claim from the owners for the topping up of aircon gas after every aircon servicing.
We all know that tenants are required to engage aircon companies to service the aircon every quarterly as per Tenancy Agreements. What most tenants do not know is, aircon servicing does not include topping up of aircon gas. What most tenants also do not know is, there is no need to top up aircon gas so frequently. Such topping up of aircon gas happen even more frequently during hot weathers.
Many tenants would simply assume that owners would reimburse them on such topping up of aircon gas. Obviously in most cases, owners would simply ignore such requests. End of the day, tenants burn a big hole in their pockets and get upset with owners.
First of all, when new aircons are being installed, each out-door Condensing Unit has sufficient aircon gas that can last for 10 years (Yes, 10 years!). This is what most consumers are unaware of. Moreover, when aircon is not cold, “insufficient gas” may not be the only contributing factor.
Owners are advised to drop by at the investment property and ask tenant’s aircon man to do a simple check using gas meter (see photos). If it is really showing “zero” or very low reading on the meter, then there may be a need to top up aircon gas. However, this will bring us to a much bigger problem for owners – there is a leak somewhere either along the aircon pipings, or in the in-door unit or in the out-door Condensing Unit (this will be another topic).
Assuming there is a need to top up gas, it is advisable for owners and tenants to come to an agreement on who is responsible to pay for this particular aircon topping up of aircon gas. Some owners may pick up the bill out of goodwill but tenants should not assume this. One thing to note is, even after topping up of aircon gas, we should still monitor for the next 1-2 weeks whether the aircon is cold. Once it is not cold again, the next step would be to do an aircon pressure test. There may be other issues with the aircon which need to trouble-shoot further as well.
Back to the question – are owners responsible for topping up of gas? Well, there is no straight forward “Yes” or “No” answer. It all depends on what is stated in the Letter of Intent (LOI) and the Tenancy Agreement (TA). It is usually clear on the LOI and TA who is responsible for aircon servicing but when it comes to topping up of aircon gas, aircon repairs or replacement of aircon parts, most LOI and TA are vague which may lead to misunderstanding between owners and tenants when things happen. So, it is strongly advisable to spell it out clearly on the LOI and TA before both parties sign on the dotted line.
If you need further clarification of the above issue, please contact the Registered ResidentAgent® of your estate to find out more.
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