On this page: This page outlines what happens if your rental is not in a good condition.

Rental not in Good Condition

What happens if my property is not in good condition and my landlord won’t carry out repairs

Remember that you have rights in this situation. You have the legal right to ask the rental provider (landlord) or agent for repairs.  

The VALS Civil and Human Rights practice acts for tenants facing eviction and those with problems around the condition of their property. If you need advice, help or representation, call us on 9418 5900. 

Types of repairs – urgent and non-urgent 

The law separates repairs into two areas, urgent repairs and non-urgent repairs. Many renters think rental providers have 14 days to get urgent repairs done. This is not true. 

Urgent repairs need to be done as soon as possible. If they are not done urgently you can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administration Tribunal (VCAT). It will hear your application within 2 business days. 

If any repairs needed are not urgent the rental provider has 14 days to get them done. 

What are Urgent repairs 

Urgent repairs are: 

  • A burst water service 
  • A blocked or broken toilet 
  • 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 for water, hot water, cooking, heating or doing laundry 
  • A failure or breakdown of any cooling appliance or service 
  • A failure to comply with any rental new minimum standards – if the renter moved in after 28 March, 2021 
  • A failure or breakdown of any safety-related device 
  • A failure or breakdown in any appliance or fitting supplied by the rental provider that will result in a large amount of water being wasted 
  • A failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply 
  • Any fault or damage that makes the premises unsafe or not secure, including pest infestations or the presence of mould or damp caused by, or related to, the building structure 
  • A serious fault in a lift or staircase 

To learn more about this issue visit Tenants Victoria and review the recommend steps.

Or you are able to visit the CAV website to download breach of notice forms if you are familiar with the steps.  

When a renter or rental provider (landlord) breaks the law – Consumer Affairs Victoria.

Remember that the VALS Civil and Human Rights practice acts for tenants facing eviction and those with problems around the condition of their property. If you need advice, help or representation, call us on 9418 5900.  

If you would like to learn more about this issue in general from Tenants Victoria, click on the provided link to learn more. 

To determine eligibility VALS will:

  • enquire as to the Aboriginality of the client;
  • enquire as to perceived or actual conflict of interest;
  • enquire as to compliance with the Means Test;
  • consider the merit of the client’s matter.

The first time someone uses VALS they must provide proof of their Aboriginality using the Confirmation of Aboriginality Form. This form must be signed and sealed by the Officer Bearers of a recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation.

VALS must not decline to provide assistance to an eligible person, group or body on the grounds that the other party to the matter is an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person. In circumstances where the relationship between the parties to a case would result in a conflict of interest, that conflict must be managed in accordance with the Victorian Legal Practice requirements and Policy Direction 9 – “Managing Conflicts of Interest” – of the Attorney-General’s Department Policy Directions for the Delivery of Legal Aid Services to Indigenous Australians (2008).

VALS will not act if a conflict of interest exists. A conflict of interest may be an ‘actual’ conflict of interest or a ‘perceived’ conflict of interest. A conflict of interest can involve:

  • Clients who have different interests, such as VALS may have advised or acted for person “A” (old client) who has an interest that conflicts with person “B” (intended new client).
  • Clients and VALS, such as a VALS staff member or Board Member has an interest that conflicts with an intended new client. Conflicts involving client-provider relationships are:
    •  An owner, director, manager, employee, contractor or agent of VALS and/or;
    • An employee of the Department; and/or
    • A close relative (spouse, de facto, parent, sibling or child) of any of the above.

VALS provides assistance on a first in best dressed basis (i.e. provide direct assistance to the party who approaches VALS first). VALS will refer the other party to another legal service provider or “brief out” the client to a private lawyer (subject to the client meeting the requirements for brief outs). Where appropriate, VALS may act for one client and provide assistance by brief out to the other.

Means Test
Where a person seeks casework assistance, VALS must ensure that applicants satisfy the Means Testing provisions of the Policy Directions.

VALS must ensure that all applicants for legal casework assistance satisfy one or more of the following requirements:

  • Under 18 years of age;
  • Main source of income comes from Community Development Employment Projects; (CDEP) participant wages or Centrelink (or equivalent) benefits; or
  • Gross household income is under $52,000 per annum.

Note: Household income includes the income of your partner, spouse, relative including an adult child who you live with.

The Means Test will be administered in two parts:

Part A: Requires the completion of a small number of questions relating to the applicant’s personal circumstances and income level.

Part B: Is required where applicants do not satisfy the criteria in Part A. It requires more detail about the applicant’s income, assets, employment status and number of dependents.

Merit Test
Discretion will be used to determine if a particular case has merit.