Repair obligations - A guide for Victorian tenancies

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In Victoria, the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 sets clear guidelines on handling repairs in rental properties, outlining the responsibilities of both rental providers and renters. Understanding these regulations is crucial for a smooth tenancy relationship.

09 March 2020

Rental Providers’ Responsibilities: 

  • Maintaining the Property: Rental providers must ensure the property, including shared areas, is maintained in good repair and is reasonably fit for living. This includes complying with safety-related repairs and maintenance requirements. 
  • Qualified Repairs: All repairs must be conducted by suitably qualified persons, regardless of the property's age, condition, or rent amount. 
  • Types of Repairs: Repairs are classified as either urgent or non-urgent. Urgent repairs, like burst water services or dangerous electrical faults, must be addressed immediately. For non-urgent repairs, rental providers have 14 days to complete them. 

Renters’ Responsibilities: 

  • Reporting Repairs: Renters must inform the rental provider in writing as soon as possible about any required repairs or damage, particularly if delaying the repair could cause further damage. 
  • Urgent Repairs: If urgent repairs are not addressed promptly by the rental provider, renters can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a resolution, which will typically be heard within two business days. 
  • Non-Urgent Repairs: For non-urgent repairs not completed within 14 days, renters can request a free inspection from Consumer Affairs Victoria and subsequently apply to VCAT. 

Understanding Urgent Repairs: 

Urgent repairs require immediate action and include issues like serious roof leaks, gas leaks, and breakdowns of essential services. If these are not promptly addressed, renters have the right to apply to VCAT or, in certain situations, arrange and pay for the repairs themselves, subject to reimbursement. 

Communication and Documentation: 

Both parties should maintain clear communication and keep records of all interactions related to repair requests and actions taken. This documentation is crucial, especially if the matter escalates to VCAT. 

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The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 provides a framework to ensure that rental properties are maintained adequately and that repairs are addressed in a timely manner. Both rental providers and renters have specific obligations to uphold. Understanding and adhering to these responsibilities not only ensures compliance with the law but also fosters a positive and cooperative rental relationship. For detailed guidance, both parties should refer to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and the associated regulations. 

If you have any queries regarding property management or leasing, please contact the Marshall White Property Management Team who will be happy to assist. Call us on (03) 9822 8711.

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