Access to drinking water in a commercial property

Louisa asks:
(updated on Wednesday, November 29th 2006)

Our Club has a lease of rooms where we stressed the need for and the landlord had verbally agreed to the use of a kitchen/water facilities. He has now reneged and instead wants to put in a coffee machine with his secretary bringing water from her accommodation within the building to our rooms. We would have to rely on her availability when we require water either for the coffee machine or for drinking water. We would have no washing facilities to either clean the coffee machine or the benches around it. Our rooms are used to teach computer use to over 100 elderly students each week. Is it not normal for any premises to be provided access to water/drinking facilites (and toilets), in which case would this not be a "given" and not have to be stated within a lease - as would a kitchen in a residential premises? Thanks - Louisa

Our Experts Answer:

From the information you have provided, it appears that your lease is not residential. As the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 applies solely to residential premises, we are not able to provide information on non-residential leases as this falls outside our area of expertise. The rights and obligations of parties to property leases which are not residential are contained in a variety of sources of law, including the
Property Law Act 1952 and case law.

For information on the rights and obligations of tenants in a non-residential lease, you can contact the Property Law section of the New Zealand Law Society at Your local Community
Law Centre or Citizens Advice Bureau will also be able to provide you with legal advice and information on your lease.

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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