Repairs - Urgent Repairs
If you request urgent repairs the landlord or agent must respond immediately.
Urgent repairs are:
- A burst water service
- A blocked or broken toilet system
- A serious roof leak
- A gas leak
- A dangerous electrical fault
- Flooding or serious flood damage
- Serious storm or fire damage
- A failure or breakdown of any essential service or appliance provided by your landlord or agent for hot water, water, cooking, heating, or laundering
- Failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity, or water supply
- Any fault or damage in the premises that makes the premises unsafe or insecure
- An appliance, fitting or fixture that is not working properly and causes a substantial amount of water to be wasted
- A serious fault in a lift or staircase.
Steps you can take to have an urgent item repaired:
- Speak with your landlord about whether your repair is urgent. If you request urgent repairs, the landlord or agent must respond without delay.
- If a repair is urgent and you are not getting a prompt response from your landlord or agent, you can authorise the repair for up to $1800.
- You can then give your landlord or agent a notice asking that they pay you back for the cost of the urgent repairs. Your landlord or agent has 14 days to pay from the date they receive the notice.
- If the landlord or agent does not complete the urgent repairs and they are going to cost more than $1800, or you cannot afford to pay for them, you can apply to VCAT, which will hear the application within two business days. VCAT can order the landlord or agent to arrange the repairs.
You must take reasonable steps to inform your landlord or agent of the need for urgent repairs and give them a chance to carry out the repairs before you make any arrangements to have the repairs done yourself.
Keep a record of the steps that you took to get your landlord or agent to carry out the repairs (eg a list of phone calls with times and dates, or stamped fax originals). If they don’t carry out the repairs immediately, you have two options: deal with the urgent repairs yourself or take the matter to the Tribunal.
Dealing with urgent repairs yourself
If you can’t reach your landlord or agent or they fail to respond immediately (ie the same day), you can arrange to have the repairs done yourself-up to the cost of $1800 (including GST).
Keep in mind that if you arrange for urgent repairs to be done and the cost is more than $1800, your landlord only has to reimburse you $1800 (including GST).
Once the repairs are done, send your landlord a Notice to Landlord to inform them of the repairs and how much they cost (include copies of any relevant receipts or invoices, and keep your copy).
The form is available from the TenantsUnion or Consumer Affairs Victoria. Your landlord must repay you within 14 days of receiving the form. If they don’t, contact the Tenants Union for advice.
- tip Never withhold rent from the landlord or use your rent money to pay for repairs. If you get 14 days behind in your rent, the landlord can serve you with a 14-day Notice to Vacate.
Taking urgent repairs to the Tribunal
If you can’t afford to pay for repairs or if the repairs will cost more than $1800 (including GST), you can apply to the Tribunal for an order that your landlord carry out the urgent repairs.
The Tribunal must hear your application for urgent repairs within 2 business days. (See ‘The Tribunal’ for more information on page 40.)