Who pays for anA/C diagnostic when the landlord did not order it?

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Who pays for anA/C diagnostic when the landlord did not order it?

We lease out an office building. A/C went out. Tenant called company for quote before us (the landlord) and charged a diagnostic fee. We did not know until after the fact. We had another company complete the job and paid for the repair (which was lower than the first company’s quote including diagnostic fee). Unfortunately, the first company charged a fee for figuring out what was wrong with the A/C. Who pays for the first company’s diagnostic fee?

Asked on September 2, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Alaska

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

To determine who is responsible for paying the first company's diagnostic fee for the air conditioning unit, you need to carefully read the written lease agreement between the landlord and the tenant in that its terms and conditions control in the absence of conflicting state law.

If the air conditioning unit went out, did the tenant contact the landlord first about the problem or did the tenant then contact an air conditioning repair company? Custom and practice in the commercial rental field is that the tenant first contacts the landlord about a problem with the rented unit so that the landlord can take the initiative to resolve the problem since the landlord owns the building.

If the tenant unilaterally called an air conditioning company to repair the unit before notifying the landlord and if this air conditioning company could not get the repair done properly, then it seems that the tenant jumped the gun and is responsible for the fee of the first air conditioning company.


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