Setting up utilities and services

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When a renter moves into a property, utilities and services like water, gas, electricity and phone may need to be connected or re-connected.  

There are rules about who is responsible for doing this, which are different depending on the utility. 

There are also rules about who has to pay for utilities and services.

On this page: 

Water, electricity, gas and oil

Rental providers (landlords) are responsible for having the water, electricity, gas or oil supply installed and connected.  

However, renters are responsible for having these utilities re-connected in their name. They should contact the utility companies to organise this. It is best to do this before moving in so the meter can be read and the new renters do not have to pay for other people’s usage. 

If the property uses bottled gas, the renter organises the supply and hire of gas bottles. 

Phone and internet 

Rental providers are responsible for initial installation of fixed internet and telecommunication connections, including the National Broadband Network (NBN).

A renter who wants to set up a connection to an existing phone line at the property must organise this (unless they have a different arrangement with the rental provider).  

If there is no line connection at the property but the renter wants one to access phone and/or internet services, the renter can talk to the rental provider about having one put in. If the renter asks to make changes to the property so they can access phone or internet services, the rental provider cannot refuse without a good reason. However, the renter may have to pay.

Television 

Television is not an essential service for rental properties. Renters who want to use a TV should check whether the property has a digital TV antenna and coaxial points, before signing the rental agreement. Renters may ask the rental provider to install these items, but the rental provider does not have to agree. 

Renters must get the rental provider's permission to install fixtures to a rental property or make any alteration, renovation or addition. This includes items such as aerials or coaxial points. Read more about renters installing fixtures and altering the rental property.

Water and sewerage 

If you are in a rural area, you may have sewage or septic tanks. The rental provider is responsible for pumping out and cleaning of sewage and septic tanks (unless damage has been caused by the renter).

You may also have water tanks. Rental providers are responsible for cartage to refill fire safety water tanks and cartage of drinking water, unless the charge relates to the amount of water supplied to the rented premises during the renter’s occupation (e.g. a monthly subscription for cartage).

If the cartage fee relates to how much water is being used, then that is the responsibility of the renter.

Special rules for caravan and residential parks

Caravan park residents and site tenants must set up the installation and connection of services from a supply point on the site to their dwelling. 

Park owners are responsible for the initial connection of an electricity, water or gas supply to a site.

The park owners are liable for all charges relating to the pumping out and cleaning of sewage and septic tanks servicing a caravan park or Part 4A site, required for reasons other than damage caused by the resident.

You can read more information about renting in caravan parks or renting in residential parks. 

Renting law reforms

Victoria made significant changes to renting laws in 2021.  

Major changes to laws about utilities and services include: 

  • renters now have to organise and pay for gas bottles
  • requiring that the rental provider pay for:
    • pumping out and cleaning of sewage and septic tanks,  unless damage has been caused by the renter 
    • initial installation of fixed internet and telecommunication connections, including the National Broadband Network (NBN) 
    • cartage to refill fire safety water tanks 
    • cartage of drinking water, unless the charge relates to the amount of water supplied to the rented premises during the renter’s occupation (e.g. a monthly subscription for cartage) 
  • Changes to utilities for caravan park and site owners requiring that caravan park owners are liable for rates, taxes and charges.

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 setting up utilities and services, you can read these sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and the Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021: 

  • Section 162 – Resident's liability for electricity, gas and water charges
  • Section 163 – Caravan park owner’s liability for electricity, gas and water charges.