This information is a guide and should not be used as a substitute for professional legal advice.

Published: March 2021
Last updated: December 2021

Landlord breaches and other notices

Renters may use formal notices sometimes to notify their rental provider (landlord) about matters such as moving out and should use them to protect their rights.

Breach notices to rental provider

If the rental provider fails to carry out their duties under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 you can give them a ‘notice for breach of duty’. This tells them they must:

  • Fix the problem and not commit the same, or similar, breach again, and/or
  • Pay you compensation for any loss you have suffered because of their breach

Notice of breach of duty to rental provider of rented premises

You can use Consumer Affair Victoria’s (CAV) form, Notice of breach of duty to rental provider of rented premises, if the rental provider has failed to carry out their duties under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. Rental providers’ duties include:

  • Repairs are not done – the home is not kept in good repair, repairs are inadequate, or not completed on time [section 68]
  • Safety-related repairs and maintenance are not completed [section 68A]
  • ‘Quiet enjoyment’ is disturbed – the rental provider or agent does not let you enjoy your home in peace, for example they arrive without enough warning, a written notice, or a proper reason [section 67]
  • Unclean – the home is not reasonably clean on the day you move in [section 65]
  • Not vacant – there are other people, or their possessions, present on the day you move in [section 65]
  • The home does not meet the minimum standards for rentals [section 65A]
  • Gas and electrical safety check records are not kept and produced on request [section 68B]
  • No locks – working deadlocks are missing from external doors or locks are missing from windows where required to be installed by the Act [section 70]
  • No keys – the rental provider changes a lock but does not provide the new key [section 70]
  • Keys and locks where there is personal or family violence – if the locks have been changed by a renter experiencing family or personal violence, the rental provider or agent cannot give a copy of these keys to a person excluded from the property under an intervention order [section 70A] or no longer on the rental agreement [section 70B]
  • Replacement appliances, fixtures and fittings for water, electricity and gas are below standard. If one of these needs to be replaced the rental provider must ensure the replacement meets a certain minimum standard for efficiency. For information about water and energy ratings see the Australian Government’s Water Rating  and Energy Rating websites [section 69]

This notice tells the rental provider they must:

  • Fix the problem and not commit the same, or similar, breach, and/or
  • Pay you compensation for any loss you have suffered because of their breach

Note that all the sections in brackets on this page, such as [section 70B], refer to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.

Consumer Affairs Victoria guidelines

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) has produced guidelines for some of the duties of rental providers and renters. These include guidelines on maintenance, cleanliness, damage and fair wear and tear, and urgent repairs. If you end up making an application to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) about the rental provider breaching their duties, VCAT will need to consider the guidelines when making decisions about compensation claims or compliance applications [section 211B].

If there are guidelines relevant to your circumstances then reading them first may help you decide whether the rental provider has breached their duties under the law, or whether there may not have been a breach, but you want to formally notify them about something, such as the need for repairs. The process for this is different – see the next section.

For more information see our page Consumer Affairs Victoria’s guidelines. You can also view the full guidelines on Consumer Affairs Victoria’s website.

Notices to rental provider

You can also give a ‘notice to rental provider’ where there may be no breach, but you want to formally notify them of something, such as your intention to move out.

To ensure you include all the details, use the Notice to rental provider of rented premises form on the Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) website.

You can use Consumer Affairs Victoria’s form to notify the rental provider or agent that:

  • Repairs are required [section 72AA, section 74]
  • Repairs are required to make the property meet minimum standards [section 65A]
  • You caused or became aware of damage to the premises [section 62]
  • You have arranged and paid for urgent repairs and you require reimbursement [section 72]
  • You have paid utility charges that are not your responsibility and you require reimbursement [section 55]
  • You want to object to the taking of photos or videos for advertising [section 89A]
  • You are terminating the tenancy agreement before moving in [section 91L]
  • You are the legal representative or next of kin of the renter who is deceased [section 91N]
  • You intend to vacate because the premises have been destroyed or are unfit for human habitation [section 91ZD]
  • You intend to vacate for other reasons [sections 91Z, 91ZB, 91ZC, 91ZE, 91ZF].

The official notice form is a good way to ensure you include all details and help you if you need to take further action later.

If you do not want to send an official ‘notice’ form you can also send an email or text if the rental provider or agent has agreed to receiving communications electronically – or write a letter.

Rooming houses and caravan parks

The information on this page refers to renters and the relevant sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.

There are similar sections of the Act for rooming house and caravan park residents.

Please contact us, your local Tenancy Advocacy and Assistance Program (TAAP) service, Tenancy Plus provider or community legal centre if you need assistance working out which sections of the Residential Tenancies Act apply to you.

Completing a notice

If you need to complete a ‘notice of breach of duty to the rental provider’, or a ‘notice to the rental provider’, you can download the relevant form from Consumer Affairs Victoria’s website:

Fill the information in the boxes provided.

Below is some information on how to complete these forms.

What to include in both notices

  1. Address of the rented premises
  2. Renter details – write the names of all the renters on the agreement (lease)
  3. Rental provider details – this needs to include the rental provider’s name, even if they have an agent. If you do not know the rental provider’s name, check your lease or ask the agent. If you live in public housing the rental provider is the ‘Director of Housing’

The forms then differ for the ‘Reason for notice’ – see below.

Further down each form both have the same ‘Delivery of this notice’ section. Here you need to specify how the notice is to be sent to the rental provider and the date it was sent. This can be personally, by post or by email, if the rental provider or agent has agreed to receive notices by email. For more information see the section headed ‘Giving a notice (‘service’)’ below on this page.

Both forms also require the renter or renters to sign the form before it is sent.

Reason for notice – Breach of Duty Notice form

If you use a Notice of Breach of Duty form to report a breach of a duty, in the ‘Reason for notice’ section of the form you need to include:

  • Why you believe the rental provider has breached their duty, and the duty, or duties, they have breached
  • What loss or damage, if any, has affected you because of the breach
  • What you want the rental provider to do, including selecting the time frame you want them to do this in. For breaches of quiet enjoyment [section 67] the time frame is seven days. For all other breaches it is 14 days
  • What evidence, if any, you will send with the notice

On the last 2 pages of the form there is a section headed ‘Information for renters’, which includes a list of common reasons for why you are giving the notice. You can copy the options that apply to your situation and paste them into the relevant section for the reason for the notice, then add further details about your situation. Include as much detail as possible about the breach and your losses.

Example of reason for notice

This example of a reason for a breach of duty notice is about your rented home not being in good repair.

In this case you could instead give a ‘Notice to rental provider of rented premises’, or give the rental provider both types of notices. It may sound harsh to give both notices, but if you send a ‘breach of duty notice’ early it can help get repairs done sooner and might also help if you later want to claim compensation.

See the below link for an example of what to include at the ‘Reason for notice’ section on the ‘notice of breach of duty’ form.

Example for notice of breach of duty

Reason for notice – Notice to Rental Provider form

if you want to give a Notice to the Rental Provider instead of a Breach of Duty Notice, there are several options for the ‘Reason for notice’ in the form, including an option for reporting repairs.

The details you include will depend on the reason you are giving the notice.

Reason for notice – intention to vacate

If you are using this form to tell the rental provider you will be moving out, read the last 2 pages of the form, headed ‘Information for the renter to assist you in providing a notice of intention to vacate’. These pages include a list of reasons for why you are moving out. You can copy the option that applies to your situation and paste it into the section for the reason for the notice, then add further details about your situation, if relevant.

Before giving notice of your intention to vacate, we recommend you see our page Ending your lease for information on what you need to do when you want to end your rental agreement (lease).

Reason for notice – damage or non-urgent repairs

Also use this form to notify the rental provider about:

  • Damage to, or breakdown of, facilities, fixtures, furniture or equipment provided with the property
  • Non-urgent repairs that are needed

Make sure you include enough detail for the rental provider to be able to understand what the problem is and what needs to be done.

For more information on reporting repairs see our page Repairs and maintenance.

Reason for notice – utility charges

You can use this form to notify the rental provider that you have paid for utility costs or charges that are their responsibility, and you need to be reimbursed.

You need to include:

  • The amount you spent that you need reimbursed
  • Evidence, such as a copy of the bill or receipt, that shows you have paid the amount you need reimbursed

For information on the utility costs and charges you are responsible for and those the rental provider is responsible for see our page Utility charges.

Reason for notice – payment for urgent repairs

You can use this form if you had to arrange, and pay for, for urgent repairs to be done and need the rental provider to reimburse you.

You need to include:

  • The date you notified the rental provider that urgent repairs were needed
  • The amount you had to pay to get the urgent repairs done, because the rental provider did not arrange for them – up to a maximum of $2,500 including GST
  • Evidence of the repairs needed and done along with evidence of the amount you paid

Before arranging and paying for urgent repairs yourself, see our page Repairs and maintenance.

Evidence

When giving a notice, whether it is a Breach of Duty Notice or a Notice to the Rental Provider, you should also give copies of any evidence you have that supports what you are writing in the notice, for example:

  • Photos or videos showing repairs are needed, or that the property is unfit to live in
  • Safety reports for the property
  • Communications you have had with the rental provider or agent, such as emails and phone logs

If you have any witnesses to the problem, it is a good idea at the time to ask them to prepare a statutory declaration or other statement about what they witnessed.

Keep copies of anything you have sent or want to send with the notice in case you need them later. Examples are if you later need to apply to VCAT if the problem is ongoing, or if you want to apply for compensation.

It is also a good idea to scan or copy all your evidence to store in the ‘cloud’ or on your computer, or email it to yourself for safe keeping.

Breaches and compensation

If the rental provider has breached any of their duties and you have suffered loss or substantial inconvenience as a result, you can claim compensation from the rental provider.

It may be better to wait until the breach is fixed before you apply for compensation. This is because you may not be able to fully calculate the loss you have suffered until the problem is fixed.

If you want to claim compensation and you:

  • Are still living at the property, you will need to serve a breach for duty notice on the rental provider
  • Have already moved out, you do not need to serve a breach for duty notice.  You can make your compensation claim by applying directly to VCAT. This can also be made at the same time as your bond application if there are issues with your bond.

If you would like to claim compensation for a breach, or breaches, see our page Compensation for renters.

Giving a notice (‘service’)

1. Keep copies

Before giving the notice to the rental provider ensure you keep a copy of it and a copy of any evidence you want to attach. Ensure the copies are clearly readable and keep them safe for use if you if you apply to VCAT later.

2. Give the notice to the rental provider (‘service’)

Do this as soon as possible. We recommend you hand deliver the notice or use registered post so you can prove the rental provider received it.

In person

If you hand deliver the notice write down the date, time, and name of the person you handed it to.

By post

If you mail the notice, Tenants Victoria recommends using registered post and that you keep your receipt and tracking number.

Allow extra time for delivery if the notice gives the rental provider a time frame to comply. See Australia Post’s delivery times.

By email

You can only send notices by email if the rental provider or agent has agreed. Check:

  • If you to have something in writing from the rental provider or agent that says they agree to you sending notices by email – this might be in your lease
  • The email address is the one the rental provider or agent agreed to, as they may have more than one email address
  • If your email has been received. Ask for a return email from the agent or rental provider or call to confirm your email has been received. Check to see if you can add a delivery or read receipt to your email before you send it, so that you receive an automatic reply. Give a copy of the notice, and copies of any evidence you have attached, to the rental provider or agent

What happens after giving a notice

Breach notices

The rental provider needs to comply with the notice within the time frame specified in the notice.

If the rental provider fixed the problem and/or paid the requested compensation, then you do not need to take any further action.

If the rental provider has not fixed the problem or has repeated the same, or a similar, breach you can apply to VCAT for compliance and/or compensation orders. See our page Applying to VCAT.

Where the rental provider has repeated the same, or a similar, breach a number of times you may also be able to give a notice of intention to vacate. If there have been successive breaches and you want to end your agreement because of this, see our page Ending your lease.

If you would like compensation see the section headed ‘Breaches and Compensation’ on this page and also our page Compensation for renters.

Other notices

Depending on the reason you are giving the notice, you may also be able to apply to VCAT for orders if the rental provider has not complied with the notice after receiving it – for example, if you have reported the need for repairs and they have not been done.

For more information on getting repairs done see our page Repairs and Maintenance.

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