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How should a tenant arrange urgent repairs?

Communicate all information about repairs in writing if possible, and keep copies for future reference.

The landlord, owner or agent must respond immediately if you request urgent repairs to a home you are renting.

Urgent repairs are:

  • burst water service
  • blocked or broken toilet system
  • serious roof leak
  • gas leak
  • dangerous electrical fault
  • flooding or serious flood damage
  • serious storm or fire damage
  • failure or breakdown of any essential service or appliance provided by a landlord for hot water, water, cooking, heating, or laundering
  • failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply
  • any fault or damage in the premises that makes it unsafe or insecure
  • an appliance, fitting or fixture that is not working properly and causes a substantial amount of water to be wasted
  • a serious fault in a lift or staircase.

All repairs are the landlord s responsibility, but they can ask you to arrange or pay for them if you caused the damage.

You must keep paying rent even while waiting for repairs to be done. If the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has already ordered the landlord to carry out the repairs, but they have yet to be completed, you can apply for the rent to be paid into VCAT's Rent Special Account while the issue is sorted out.

If the landlord, owner or agent does not carry out repairs, you have two options:

  • Organise and pay for them yourself, up to a maximum amount of $1800. You can then request reimbursement using the Notice to landlord of rented premises. The landlord, owner or agent then has 14 days to refund the money
  • If you cannot afford to pay for the repairs, or if they will cost more than $1,800, you can apply for an urgent hearing at VCAT. VCAT must hear the matter within two business days after they receive the application and may order the landlord to carry out the necessary repairs.

As Victoria's consumer affairs regulator, we help landlords, agents and tenants understand their rights and responsibilities.

Tenants and Landlords