Installing security devices because of family violence

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You can install security devices in your rental property to help keep you safe, but depending on the kind of devices you want to put in, you might need your rental provider’s (landlord’s) permission.

You may also be able to change the locks.

Devices you can install without permission

You can install security devices on the property without your rental provider’s permission as long as they are removable. Removable security devices include things such as alarm systems or security cameras. Devices cannot be hardwired to the property. This means you could use battery operated or solar powered security cameras, for example.

This does not apply if the building is on the heritage register.

You must make sure the security devices:

  • do not affect your neighbours’ privacy
  • can be easily removed
  • do not damage or permanently change the property.

Devices you need permission to install

You must get your rental provider’s permission to install permanent fixtures or devices, such as a hardwired alarm system. However, rental providers cannot unreasonably deny you permission to install devices or fixtures.

Reasonable security measures means devices that most people would think are fair to keep someone safe.

Necessary security measures means devices that are needed to ensure the safety of:

  • you or someone else living in the property who is experiencing family violence
  • you or someone else living in the property who is a protected person (someone who has a safety notice or intervention order against someone else on the rental agreement).

Examples of this type of security measures include:

  • installation of a security light or camera which does not impact on the privacy of neighbours (if the security system is hardwired, you may be required to have a suitable qualified person install the system, and not impact the privacy of your neighbours)
  • installation of a secure letterbox
  • modifications to secure external gates.

You might be able to get help with having security devices installed as part of a safety plan from a family violence support service.

You can read more about changes renters can make to a property.

Getting help

If you are in immediate danger, contact Victoria Police on 000.

There are other services available if someone is being violent towards you.

Contact Consumer Affairs Victoria

If you’re experiencing family violence and need help with renting, contact us.

You can call Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 55 81 81 (9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday).

Calling us costs the same as a local call. Additional charges may apply if you are calling from overseas, on a mobile or payphone. You can also contact us through our online enquiry form.

Your information will stay confidential.

We may refer you to a community agency for help with a renting issue, through our Tenancy Assistance and Advocacy Program. We will ask you for permission first.

Information for property managers

If you are a rental provider, rooming house operator or property manager, read:

Renting law reforms

Victoria made significant changes to renting laws in 2021.

One of the major changes to laws about installing security devices because of family violence is:

  • rental providers cannot unreasonably withhold their consent for a renter to make a modification to ensure the safety of a renter who has been or is being subjected to family violence by another party to the rental agreement, or necessary to ensure the safety of a renter who is a protected person under an intervention order made against another party to the rental agreement.

Some language also changed:

  • Landlords are now called rental providers
  • Tenants are now called renters
  • Leases are now called rental agreements.

You can read about these and other changes in a summary of the reforms or in detailed fact sheets and guides.

Sections of the Act 

If you want to know what the law says about installing security devices because of family violence, you can read these sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and the Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021:

  • Section 64 – Modifications to rented premises
  • Regulation 26 – Modifications which can be made without rental provider's consent
  • Regulation 28 – Modifications for which the rental provider must not unreasonably refuse consent.