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Who pays for repairs to a rented home?

The landlord must maintain rented premises in good repair, so when certain things need fixing, they must pay. How fast they must act depends on whether the repairs are defined as urgent or non-urgent.

Urgent repairs

Urgent repairs are those that the landlord must attend to immediately, including any fault or damage which makes the premises unsafe or insecure. Urgent repairs include:

  • a burst water service
  • a blocked or broken toilet system
  • a serious roof leak
  • a gas leak
  • a dangerous electrical fault
  • flooding or serious flood damage
  • serious storm of fire damage
  • a failure or breakdown of any essential service or appliance for water, hot water, cooking, heating or laundering provided by the landlord.
  • a failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply to the premises
  • substantial or potentially substantial water wastage caused by a failure or breakdown of an appliance, fitting or fixure provided by the landlord
  • any fault or damage that makes a premises unsafe or insecure
  • a serious fault in a lift or staircase.

If your landlord does not carry out repairs after you have taken reasonable steps to notify them, you can:

  • organise and pay for the repairs yourself then seek the money back from the landlord
  • apply for an urgent hearing at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

If you organise urgent repairs, you can be reimbursed for the reasonable cost of the repairs or $1,800, whichever is less. To be reimbursed, send the landlord invoices or receipts with a Notice to landlord of rented premises.

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.

Non-urgent repairs

A landlord should respond to all repair requests promptly, including non-urgent repairs.

You should use our official Notice to landlord of rented premises, rather than an agent's own maintenance request forms.

Follow these steps:

  1. Send or deliver the Notice to landlord of rented premises form to the landlord at the address provided for service of notices. Follow the form's instructions and keep a copy. They then have 14 days from the day the notice is served (including weekends) to carry out the work.
  2. If the repairs are not completed, you can apply for a repairs inspection using our Request for repairs inspection or rent assessment (keep a copy). Our inspector will visit your home and contact your landlord to reach an agreement.
  3. If we cannot reach an agreement, we will give both parties a copy of the report. You have 60 days from receiving the report to apply for an order directing the landlord to perform repairs. Apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

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

Tenants and Landlords