Urgent Repairs


The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 differentiates between urgent and non-urgent repairs.

All repairs are the landlord’s responsibility, but if the damage is caused by the tenant, the landlord can ask them to arrange or pay for repairs.
Please note: Tenants will be liable for extra cost involved for maintenance called out that is not emergency.

Urgent repairs are:

  • 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
  • failure or breakdown of any essential service or appliance provided by a 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.


In the event of an urgent repair, the tenant should first take reasonable steps to contact the landlord or agent to rectify the issue.

In situations where the landlord or agent could not be contacted, the tenant is authorized to organize for the urgent repairs to be fixed and the landlord or agent will have to pay the tenant the reasonable cost of repairs or $1800 whichever is less.

Receipts must be kept and will need to be given to the landlord or agent together with a notice to prove what was repaired how much was spent.

The landlord or agent have 14 days from receiving the notice to pay the tenant for the urgent repairs.


  • Urgent repairs are going to cost more than $1800 or
  • The tenant cannot afford to pay for them or
  • The landlord threatens not to pay if the tenant has the repairs done

In these cases, the tenant can apply to Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), which must hear the application within 2 business days after receipt. The tribunal can order the landlord to do the repairs.

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