Rental minimum standards guide

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Under the new rental laws, rental providers (landlords) must ensure that their rental property meets certain minimum standards. 

The minimum standards cover basic but important requirements relating to amenity, safety and privacy, and rental providers have a duty to ensure their property meets these standards. 

The minimum standards apply to rental agreements that:

  • started after 29 March 2021
  • started before 29 March 2021 and roll over into periodic agreements on or after 29 March 2021.

Rolling over to a periodic agreement is considered starting a new agreement, even if occupancy began before 29 March 2021.

Minimum standards do not apply to rental agreements  that started before 29 March 2021 and rolled over into a periodic agreement before 29 March 2021. 

What are the rental minimum standards? 

All rental properties must comply with the rental minimum standards listed below. There are 14 categories:  

  • All external entry doors to the rented premises which are not able to be secured with a functioning deadlatch, other than any screen door attached to an external door, must at least be fitted with a locking device that:
  • is operated by a key from the outside, and 
  • may be locked from the inside with or without a key  
  • This does not apply to a front door that opens to common property (for example, entrance to an apartment building) 
  • This does not apply if the property is a registered place and a request for a permit to comply with this standard has been refused under the Heritage Act 2017
  • Rented premises must meet the ventilation standards in the Building Code of Australia. 
  • Must be supplied by local council and compliant with council regulations.  
  • Rented premises must contain a toilet in working order.
  • It must be:
    • connected to an appropriate waste system 
    • in a room or structure intended to be used as a toilet area.
  • Must include:
    • reasonable hot and cold water supply
    • a washbasin, shower/bath
    • minimum 3 star rated showerheads. 
  • Must have: 
    • a dedicated food preparation area
    • a sink with hot and cold water
    • a stovetop in good working order that has two or more burners.

If there is an oven, it must be in working order.

Note: these do not apply if the property is a registered place and a request for a permit to comply with this standard has been refused under the Heritage Act 2017

  • If provided, must be connected to a reasonable amount of hot and cold water.  
  • Rented premises to be structurally sound and weatherproof.
  • Each room must be free from mould and damp caused by the building structure.

On 29 March 2023, the electrical safety rental minimum standard will commence.

The electrical safety standard requires that rental properties must have modern style switchboards, with circuit breakers and electrical safety switches installed. Electrical safety switches are correctly known as residual current devices (RCD, RCCB or RCBO).

Rental providers are responsible for ensuring their rental property complies with the electrical safety standard by engaging a licensed or registered electrician.

Rental providers are encouraged to engage an electrician early to ensure that they are meeting their legislative obligations.

If your rented premises has a circuit breaker type switchboard

The rented premises can meet the new minimum standard if the electrician adds circuit breaker components to the power outlets and lighting circuits, without the need to add to or modify the circuit protection to other circuits (such as fixed cooking equipment, hot water units or air conditioning circuits).

The circuit breaker components include:

  • an overcurrent circuit breaker and a residual current device (RCDs), or
  • an overcurrent circuit breaker and a residual current operated circuit-breakers without integral overcurrent protection (RCCBs), or
  • a residual current operated circuit-breaker with integral overcurrent protection (RCBOs).

If your rented premises does not have a circuit breaker type switchboard

Some properties do not have circuit breaker type switchboards, such as older properties that have a panel and fuse board or a federal fuse board.

With these older type fuse boards, an electrician may not have the option of adding circuit breaker components (such as RCDs, RCCBs or RCBOs) and may have to replace the entire switchboard to ensure the rented premises meets the electrical safety standard. In this case, circuit breaker components will be required for all the circuits at the switchboard, including fixed cooking equipment, hot water units and air-conditioning circuits.

  • From 29 March 2022:
    • all windows in bedrooms and the living area must have coverings that can block light and provide privacy.
  • External windows that can be opened must be able to be set in open/closed position
  • The Act requires that locks are to be provided to secure all windows of the rented premises that are capable of having a lock. If the window is not capable of having a lock, it must have a latch to secure against external entry.
  • Interior rooms and corridors must have appropriate access to light. It can be natural or artificial
  • Any habitable rooms (such as a bedroom, living room or study) must have access to natural light and artificial light.  
  • Phased approach to these reforms – being introduced over a 3 year period
  • From 29 March 2021, a fixed heater in the main living area will be required for all rented premises including Class 1 properties (attached and detached houses) and Class 2 properties (multi-unit residential buildings)
  • If a fixed heater in the main living area has not been installed, an energy-efficient heater (2 star minimum) must be installed
  • From 29 March 2023, an energy-efficient fixed heater (minimum 2 star rated) in the main living area will be required for all rented premises
  • If the rental property is in a class 2 building (apartment block) and it is not feasible to install an energy-efficient heater, (e.g. due to Owner’s Corporation rules or excessive costs), then the energy efficiency requirement does not apply, but a fixed heater is still required. 
  • For more information, you can download our guide: Minimum rental standards for heating - Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021

What if the rental property doesn’t meet the minimum standards? 

If the rental property does not meet the minimum standards, the renter can end the rental agreement before they move in. 

Renters can also request an urgent repair to make the rental property meet the minimum standards at any time after they move in. 

What about Rooming Houses, Caravan Parks and Residential Parks? 

Minimum standards for rooming houses have applied since 2013. For more information, visit Rooming house minimum standards.

Minimum standards do not apply to caravans, sites or parks. 

The new rental laws apply from 29 March 2021.