Efficiency standards for replacement appliances and fixtures

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Under the Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021, certain appliances, fixtures and fittings must meet minimum efficiency ratings. To find out more about these ratings, refer to the rental minimum standards.

There are also separate rules about safety standards, repairs and maintenance for gas and electrical appliances.

On this page:

Replacement items must meet minimum efficiency ratings

If an appliance, fitting or fixture provided by the rental provider uses or supplies water, electricity or gas needs to be replaced (including in a caravan and residential park) the replacement appliances must meet the minimum efficiency ratings.

The rental provider must pay for the cost of water, gas or electricity supplied for as long as the replacement item doesn’t meet the minimum efficiency ratings.

If a rental provider installs a replacement water, gas or electrical appliance, fitting or fixture that does not meet the required minimum efficiency rating, the renter or resident can issue a Notice for breach of duty to rental provider of rented premises (Word, 785KB). Read more about what happens when a renter or rental provider breaks the law.

Read more about sustainable renting from Sustainability Victoria.

Paying for replacement items

The rental provider must pay for the cost of replacing appliances, fittings and fixtures.

A renter or resident may seek urgent repairs by notifying the rental provider or caravan owner. If the rental provider or caravan owner cannot be contacted or does not respond quickly, the renter or caravan park resident can authorise and pay for urgent repairs up to the value of $2,500. This includes replacing the appliance, fitting or fixture with one that is at or above the minimum efficiency rating. The rental provider or caravan owner must pay them back.

Read more about what to do when urgent repairs are needed at a rental property.

Water efficiency

Replacement water appliances, fittings and fixtures (such as shower heads and toilets) supplied by a rental provider must have a minimum three-star water efficiency rating under the Australian Government’s Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Scheme, also known as the WELS Scheme.

A dishwasher must have a minimum three-star water efficiency rating under the WELS Scheme and a minimum three-star energy efficiency rating under the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (Dishwashers) Determination 2015.

Renters and residents who arrange their own urgent repairs must also ensure any replacement water appliances or dishwasher meet the minimum efficiency ratings.

In limited exceptions, where the age, nature and structure of the plumbing means that a three-star rated appliance cannot be installed or will not work, then a one or two-star appliance is permitted. For example, if a three-star rated tap or shower rose does not produce sufficient water pressure because of the age of the plumbing, a one or two-star rated tap or shower rose may be installed.

Non-ducted air conditioners, heat pumps and gas space heaters

If a non-ducted air conditioner, heat pump (reverse cycle air conditioner) or gas space heater needs to be replaced, the replacement item must have a minimum two-star heating rating.

In some apartment blocks it may not be reasonable to install a minimum two-star replacement non-ducted air conditioner, heat pump or gas space heater if:

  • the cost of the installation is prohibitive
  • the owners corporation rules prevent installation of the appliance
  • compliance with any other Act or local law makes the cost of installation prohibitive.

Forms you might need

To issue a rental provider with a notice for a breach of duty, use this form:

Renting law reforms

Victoria made significant changes to renting laws in 2021.

Some of the major changes to laws about efficiency standards include:

  • fittings and fixtures (not just appliances) must now be replaced with items that meet minimum efficiency ratings
  • gas and electrical (not just water) appliances, fittings and fixtures must now be replaced with items that meet the minimum efficiency ratings.

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 efficient appliances, you can read these sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997:

  • Section 54 – Residential rental provider's liability for charges for supply to non-complying appliances
  • Section 69 – Residential rental provider must ensure rating compliance for replacement appliances
  • Section 72 – Urgent repairs
  • Section 129 – Urgent repairs
  • Section 164 – Owner's responsibility for charges for supply to non-complying appliances
  • Section 181 – Owner must ensure appliances with an efficiency rating system installed
  • Section 188 – Urgent repairs to caravans
  • Section 188A – Urgent site repairs
  • Section 206ZZAA – Urgent site repairs to Part 4A sites