Who pays TV antenna damage?

Question from Oliver updated on 30th May 2013:

Gail force winds caused damage to the antenna on the roof of my rental property. The tenant complains that they can't watch TV anymore. But the antenna was never mentioned in the rental agreement. Am I under any legal obligation to fix it? 

Our expert Juliet Robinson responded:

In a word, yes. The tenant has a right to expect that any TV antenna installed in a property is in an operating state. A tenancy agreement is a contract, and there are implied terms that the property as viewed by a tenant is what they are agreeing to rent. (In short, what you see is what you get, unless the agreement specifically excludes it.) If the television antenna was working at the start of the tenancy and subsequently fails, it must be restored by the owner. Another issue arises if the antenna is an old analogue aerial which (if not already) will soon become unusable when analogue television transmission ceases in your area. There have been advertisements on television warning consumers that analogue television transmissions will cease. A sensible landlord will consider future-proofing by replacing an old analogue aerial with one capable of receiving Freeview. I suggest you look at www.goingdigital.co.nz for further information about the changeover to digital television.

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