If the rental provider has not carried out urgent repairs you can apply to VCAT for the repairs to be done, or you can arrange and pay for them yourself, then ask the rental provider to reimburse you.
In most cases Tenants Victoria recommends applying to VCAT, which must hear your application within 2 business days.
If you want to arrange and pay for the urgent repairs yourself, you can do this if:
- The repairs are urgent, and
- You have tried to contact the rental provider or agent, and
- You could not contact them, or they did not do the repairs, and
- The repairs cost less than $2,500 (including GST)
Note that this process only applies for urgent repairs. You cannot arrange and pay for non-urgent repairs.
1. Check if you can pay
Consider what is involved in paying yourself. The issues include:
- You cannot afford to pay
- You do not want to pay because of any complications in getting reimbursed by the rental provider
- The repairs needed will cost more than $2,500 (including GST)
If any of these apply to your situation, you can go to VCAT to ask for urgent repair orders instead. See our page Applying to VCAT.
2. Get quotes
If you pay for repairs, the rental provider only has to pay you back for ‘reasonable’ costs.
Get 2 or 3 quotes to compare prices and make sure you do not pay too much.
3. Check GST
The maximum the rental provider has to pay you back for urgent repairs is $2,500 including GST. So, before you book urgent repairs, check if GST is included.
4. Book the repairs
All repairs need to be done by a ‘suitably qualified person’. Tenants Victoria recommends you find a licensed tradesperson.
If you are a licensed tradesperson yourself, do not do the repairs unless the rental provider has agreed to pay you. The law on urgent repairs says the rental provider has to pay you back (up to $2,500 including GST) if you pay someone else to do urgent repairs. But it is not clear about what happens if you do the repairs yourself.
If the rental provider agrees that you can do the repairs, get this in writing before you start. Make sure the written agreement includes how much they will pay you and when you will be paid.
5. Take ‘before and after’ photos and videos
Take photos and videos that show the damage before any work starts and again after the repair is completed. Keep these safe in case there are any questions in future.
A video may be more helpful if photos do not show what the problem is, such as a leaking roof or removal of a blockage.
6. Get a receipt or tax invoice
Make sure you get a receipt or tax invoice. Check that it includes the work done and how much you paid.
7. Request payment from the rental provider
Write to the rental provider, or agent, to ask for repayment of the money you spent on urgent repairs.
Tenants Victoria recommends you use the Notice to rental provider of rented premises form available on the Consumer Affairs website to describe the repairs that were done, how much they cost and that the amount rental provider needs to pay you.
Using the official form is a good way to make sure you include all important details. And it might get the rental provider to reimburse you for the cost of urgent repairs sooner.
See our page Rental provider breaches and other notices for how to complete a Notice to rental provider of rented premises form.
What happens next
The rental provider has 7 days from the time they receive your written request to pay you. If they do not do so, you can apply to VCAT for an order that the rental provider has to pay you.
The 7 days starts from when the rental provider receives your paperwork — not from when the repairs are done. If you send your paperwork by post you will need to allow extra time for delivery.
See our page Applying to VCAT on getting your money back for urgent repairs.