Hot under the collar over row

TRACEY cunningham is fed up that she’s had to endure a month of extreme heat while waiting for the airconditioner at her Springdale Heights rental property to be repaired.

Miss Cunningham called Ian Ritchie Real Estate when the airconditioner broke down on January 16 — a 43-degree day in one of our longest heatwaves.

Another nine days since have been days above 40 degrees and only three days have had a maximum temperature below 30 degrees.

“It’s been horrible,” Miss Cunningham said.

“I walk into my house and I want to die.”

She said she and her son Dale, 12, had suffered nausea and headaches.

Dale, who has just started high school, said: “I’ve been getting cranky in the heat and yelling at mum for the littlest of things”.

Miss Cunningham, who has a dog-grooming business, said the agent had told her the airconditioner would be fixed straight away, but after 10 more phone calls, all she got was excuses and empty promises.

She said she had been told the agent was waiting to hear back from the property’s landlord and, then later, that no airconditioning tradesmen were available — they were all busy.

About 10 days after the airconditioner broke down, a tradesman had come to her three-bedroom home and said the unit needed replacing.

Another 10 days later, Miss Cunningham contacted the South West Tenants Advice and was told she could apply for compensation at the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Community support manager with the organisation Tracey Crosby said she couldn’t comment specifically on the case, but NSW law dictated a broken down airconditioner was an “urgent repair” in summer, requiring action within 48 hours.

Ms Crosby said agents must make a “genuine effort” to get it repaired in that time and not postpone the work for other reasons.

“If the landlord can’t afford to fix it, that’s not the tenant’s problem,” Ms Crosby said.

Real estate agent Ian Ritchie said the 48-hour requirement was a politically motivated law made in Sydney that wasn’t always practical when airconditioning tradesmen were booked in summer.

He said he was aware of the law and had acted accordingly.

“We act as quickly as we can to rectify the situation but we’re not magicians,” he said.

“There has just been a flood of calls and we’re only one Albury agent.”

The airconditioner will be replaced this morning.

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