You will be allowed to make some changes or modifications to the rental property. Some you can make without the rental provider’s consent but others need their approval. The consent cannot be unreasonably refused. There are additional limitations if the property has heritage protections so ensure you seek advice.
If the rental provider does not consent, you can go to the Victorian Civil and Administration Tribunal (VCAT).
Importantly, this only allows for consent for modifications that are not permanent. Renters are responsible for restoring the rental property to its original condition, save for fair wear and tear. You do not have to restore it if you and your rental provider agree that the modifications can remain once you leave.
No consent is needed to install:
- Picture hooks or screws for wall mounts, shelves or brackets in walls, provided the devices do not penetrate walls that are exposed brick or concrete
- In-wall anchoring devices, provided the walls are not exposed brick or concrete
- LED light globes, provided they do not need changed light fittings
- Water-efficient shower head, if you keep the original
- Blind or cord anchors
- Wireless doorbell
- Security light, alarm system or security camera that can easily be removed, is not hard wired and does not impact on the privacy of neighbours
- Replacement curtains, provided you keep the old ones
- Adhesive child-safety locks on doors or drawers
- Pressure-mounted child-safety gates
- Lock on letterbox
- Non-permanent window film for privacy or insulation
Consent is needed to install:
- Picture hooks or screws for wall mounts, shelves or brackets or in wall anchoring devices if the walls are exposed brick or concrete
- Hardware-mounted child-safety gates if the walls are exposed brick or concrete
- Draught-proofing in homes, provided there are no unflued gas heaters
- A security system by a qualified installer, provided you keep the invoice, and the privacy of your neighbours is not impacted
- A secure letterbox
- Flywire on doors or windows
- Changes to secure external gates, provided you don’t live in a multi-unit dwelling
- Herb or vegetable garden
A rental provider cannot unreasonably refuse reasonable modifications needed by the renter, under section 55 of the Equal Opportunity Act, that have been prescribed by an occupational therapist or a health practitioner.
Unreasonable refusal of modifications
A rental provider cannot unreasonably refuse to give consent for modifications on a wide range of grounds. These include that the modifications:
- Do not penetrate or permanently modify surfaces, or fixtures or the structure
- Are needed for health and safety
- Are reasonable security measures or needed to access telecommunication
- Are needed for the safety of a victim survivor of family violence against a perpetrator who is also a renter at the property
- Are for increased thermal comfort
- Are to reduce energy or water usage costs
A rental provider can argue the refusal was not unreasonable in a range of circumstances. These include that they have given the renter a valid notice to vacate advising of change of possession or use of the premises, or it would not be reasonably practical to remedy the modifications.
If the rental provider and renter cannot reach an agreement, disputes can go to VCAT.