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

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 for breach of duty to rental provider

You can use Consumer Affair Victoria’s (CAV) notice for breach of duty to rental provider form if the rental provider has failed to carry out their duties under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, which include:

  • Repairs 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 not completed [section 68A]
  • ‘Quiet enjoyment’ 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 [section 65A]
  • Gas and electrical safety check records 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.

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.

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

Download the forms from Consumer Affairs Victoria’s website: notice for breach of duty to rental provider; notice to rental provider of rented premises.

Fill the information in the boxes provided.

Below is an image of the forms with hints on how to complete them.  See the examples of completed forms further down this page.

What to include in both notices

Rental provider details

  1. Rental provider’s name– ensure you write the rental provider’s name on the form and not the name of the real estate agent. If you don’t 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’.
  2. Rental provider’s address– you can use the agent’s address on the form.

Renter details

  1. Renter names– you can write renters’ names here. Name everyone on the tenancy agreement.
  2. Rented premises– write the address of the rented premises.
  3. Address for serving documents– if the address is the same as your answer in 4, write ‘as above’. If not, write the address you want documents to be sent to.
  4. Provide contact telephone numbers.

‘Service’ details

  1. Specify how the notice will be ‘served on’, which means ‘given to’, the rental provider, such as by registered post, and the date it will be served.
  2. Sign the form.
  3. Clearly print your name.

Reason for notice/breach of duty notice

  1. Reason for notice – At the beginning of each form there are common reasons and section numbers that you can copy and paste into the reason section. Choose the one that applies to your situation.

If you are giving a breach notice, or a notice to the rental provider because of a problem, such as the need for repairs, you are ending your tenancy because the property is unfit, or the rental provider has not complied with orders from the Victorian Civil and Administration Tribunal (VCAT), then include as much detail as possible, including dates.

If you do not have enough space to include all the details on the form write ‘see attached’ and provide further details on a separate sheet of paper.

‘Notice to rental provider’ form only

  1. Details are attached (e.g., receipts, other evidence)– Tick the box to indicate whether or not you have attached any documents to the form.

‘Notice for breach of duty’ form only

  1. The loss or damage– include details of the loss (costs), damage and/or inconvenience you have suffered as a result of the rental provider’s breach. Provide as much detail as possible. If you are claiming compensation as well as asking for compliance, see our page  Compensation for renters. If there is not enough space, write ‘see attached’ in the box and provide the details on a separate sheet.
  2. Compensation or compliance– the notice can be used to ask the rental provider to fix the problem, to not commit the same, or similar, breach, and for compensation. If you are trying to get the rental provider to carry out their duties and fix the problem, you should state what you want them to do, such as fixing the leaking roof.

If you are claiming compensation, fill in the amount that you are claiming – see our page Compensation for renters. If asking for both compliance (to fix the problem) and compensation, cross out ‘or’ and write ‘and’.

  1. This is a statement that informs the rental provider that you will apply to VCAT if they commit the same, or similar, breach or don’t fix the problem or don’t pay you compensation.
  2. Details are attached (e.g., receipts, other evidence) – tick the box to indicate whether or not you have attached any documents to the form.

Evidence

When giving a notice 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. For example, 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

If the rental provider does not comply with the breach notice within 14 days of receiving it, you can apply to VCAT for an order that they do so.

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.

Example: notice for breach of duty

Property not in good repair

For repairs use either a notice for breach of duty to rental provider form or notice to rental provider of rented premises form on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website, or both.

It may sound harsh to give a ‘notice for breach of duty’ form or to give both forms, but if you send this early it can help get repairs done sooner and can also help if you later want to claim compensation.

What happens next

The rental provider has 14 days from the time they receive the notice to comply.

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.

If you would like compensation see our page Compensation for renters.

If you would like more information on repairs, see our page Repairs and maintenance.

Example: notice to rental provider

Reporting non-urgent repairs

For repairs you can give either a notice for breach of duty to rental provider form or notice to rental provider of rented premises form from the Consumer Affairs Victoria website, or both.

It may sound harsh to give a ‘Notice for breach of duty’ form or to give both forms, but if you send this early it can help get repairs done sooner and can also help if you later want to claim compensation.

What happens next

Non-urgent repairs must be done within 14 days of you reporting them.

If they are not done within 14 days, or not done well enough, you can either:

If you would like more information on repairs, see our pages Repairs and maintenance and Applying to VCAT.

Example: money back for urgent repairs

What happens next

The rental provider has 7 days from the time they receive your written request to reimburse you. If they do not you can apply to VCAT for an order that the rental provider has to reimburse you. See our page Applying to VCAT about getting money back for urgent repairs.

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