Question :
Hi there. We are tenants and I am trying to understand who is responsible for the payment of replacement Emergency Lighting, we have around 15 of them in our building and they cost $300 to replace, they all seem to be up for replacement and this is becoming a lot of money? Who is responsible for this cost the tenant or the landlord? The last one was paid by the landlord and they are now saying we are responsible. Out lease states the landlords are responsible for payment of replacement items, whereas the tenant is responsible for repairs and maintenance. The fire service people are stating  the most economical way is to replace? Can you please advise? Many thanks

Question submitted 25/05/20 @ 10:47pm
Industry: Property
  • Hi there

    If your lease says the landlord is responsible for the REPLACEMENT of items and the fire services are saying they should be replaced then I would look to rely on your lease. Do you occupy the entire building? I have asked one of our property managers and will come back to you later today.


    As per Chris’s comments above, this will depend on your lease document.

    Forgive me for my long-winded response, I’m thinking out loud here and using a process of elimination to help you arrive at my answer simply if it were me in your shoes and again making several assumptions with my answer.

    Most businesses we have experience with, use an ADLS (Auckland District Law Society) Agreement to Lease, or Deed of Lease. It will also depend on the edition of this document if it is in this format. I also assume the emergency lighting is to illuminate the exits to the building in the event of an emergency? On the most recent edition of the ADLS Agreement to Lease, line item (4) of the outgoings schedule states “New Zealand Fire Service charges and the maintenance charges in respect of all fire detection and fire fighting equipment.” are payable by the Tenant, again assuming you are on a net lease (i.e. responsible for paying all opex) and this line item of the outgoings has not been deleted, then as a general rule of thumb, Landlords are required to provide the fire fighting equipment, the Tenants are then responsible for maintaining said equipment. As this is neither fire fighting or fire detection equipment, I have looked into line item (7) of the outgoings schedule which states “Cleaning, maintenance and repair charges including charges for repainting, decorative repairs and the maintenance and repair of building services to the extent that such charges do not comprise part of the cost of a service maintenance contract, but excluding charges for structural repairs to the building (minor repairs to the roof of the building shall not be a structural repair), repairs due to defects in design or construction, inherent defects in the building and renewal or replacement of building services.” Personally, I would classify the emergency lighting as “building services” – here is also a link to give examples of building services https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Building_services and as per this section (7) of the Outgoings in the ADLS Agreement to Lease FIFTH EDITION 2012 (4) this would imply it is the responsibility of the Landlord.

    If your Lease is not in this format, I would speak to your solicitor.

    Hope this helps 🙂

    This is from Chris Menzies, our head of Occupier Services…

    Great question.

    Typically the replacement of light fittings is the responsibility of the Landlord, while replacement of the globe is a tenants responsibility. For an LED light, the fitting and globe come in a single unit so its therefore quite often contentious. I would certainly want to look at the lease to see if the ownership is defined which might provide some clarify, and would want to know how long the lease is to understand what benefit would be consumed by the tenant. Overall, the consumption of a LED is so much lower than a classic light fitting, that despite the higher replacement cost, tenants would typically still benefit financially from the decreased consumption.

    Reach out if we can help.

    Hi Shelley,

    If you are on an ADLS lease the tenant is responsible for repairs and maintenance. As the lights have reached the end of their ‘life’ and can no longer be economically repaired and maintained by the tenant and require replacement these are the responsibility of the landlord to replace.


    Hi thanks for the responses, this is tricky as the cost to replace a battery or any part seems to be the same cost as replacing the whole unit? Does that mean they are my cost? All 15 were installed at the same time so looks like it will be an ongoing problem, are lease has 1 year to run. Any further comments greatly appreciated. thanks

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