Renting Law Changes on Urgent Repairs
In 2021, Victoria implemented over 130 reforms to its renting laws, aiming to establish a system that is fairer and safer for both renters and rental providers (landlords).
Outlined below are the modifications pertaining to urgent repairs, encompassing:
- The responsibilities of renters and rental providers in terms of property maintenance
- The distinction between urgent and non-urgent repairs
- Addressing urgent repairs amidst the current COVID-19 restrictions
- Expanding the definition of urgent repairs to include additional scenarios
- The obligations of rental providers and renters concerning property maintenance and urgent repairs.
What are the obligations of rental providers regarding property condition and maintenance?
Rental providers bear the responsibility of offering the property in a satisfactory state, ensuring its suitability for habitation. This obligation remains unchanged, irrespective of the rental amount or the property's age and characteristics.
Furthermore, rental providers must furnish tenants with a condition report at the commencement of the tenancy, regardless of whether a security deposit is collected. The condition report should be revisited upon the conclusion of the tenancy.
What obligations do renters have?
Renters are expected to leave the property in a reasonably clean state, comparable to its condition at the beginning of the rental agreement, while considering normal wear and tear. Additionally, they are obligated to promptly inform the rental provider about any instances of property damage or malfunctioning facilities.
What distinguishes urgent repairs from non-urgent repairs?
Urgent repairs refer to situations where the renter's safety and ability to reside in the property are significantly compromised. Non-urgent repairs encompass all other types of repairs, such as a malfunctioning dishwasher or loose bathroom tiles.
What qualifies as an urgent repair?
Urgent repairs are those that necessitate immediate attention due to their potential to render the property unsafe or inhospitable. The following items are examples of repairs categorized as urgent:
- burst water service
- blocked or broken toilet system
- serious roof leak
- gas leak
- dangerous electrical fault
- flooding or serious flood damage
- serious storm or fire damage
- an essential service or appliance for hot water, water, cooking, heating, or laundering is not working
- the gas, electricity or water supply is not working
- a cooling appliance or service provided by the rental provider is not working
- the property does not meet minimum standards
- a safety-related device, such as a smoke alarm or pool fence, is not working
- an appliance, fitting or fixture that is not working and causes a lot of water to be wasted
- any fault or damage in the property that makes it unsafe or insecure, including pests, mould or damp caused by or related to the building structure
- a serious problem with a lift or staircase.
If a repair is not on the list above, it is a non-urgent or general repair.
Who is responsible for arranging and covering the costs of repairs?
It is the obligation of the rental provider to coordinate and bear the expenses for all repairs that are not the fault of the renter. In the event that the renter is responsible for the damage, they may be liable for the repair costs. Renters are required to promptly notify the rental provider or agent to request repairs.In cases of urgent repairs, rental providers or agents must ensure that the repairs are carried out without delay. If the rental provider or agent fails to respond to the repair request, the renter has the option to organize and pay for the urgent repair. This is permissible only if the cost of the repair does not exceed $2500. The rental provider must reimburse the renter within seven days.