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

Published: April 2021
Last updated: May 2022

Minimum standards

Properties being offered for rent need to meet basic minimum standards.

What the law says

For all new rental agreements (leases) the rental provider (landlord) needs to make sure the property meets basic minimum standards.

These standards apply to rental agreements that started from 29 March 2021, including earlier fixed term agreements that rolled over into periodic agreements from that date. A fixed term agreement is for a set amount of time – for example, a 12-month agreement. Periodic agreements do not have an end date and are usually on a month-to-month basis.

Before you sign

Before you enter into a rental agreement the rental provider must tell you if the property meets the minimum standards [section 30D]. It is an offence to not give you this information.

For more information on what you need to be told when looking for a rental property see our page Before you sign.

Note that on this page sections in brackets, such as [section 30D], refer to sections in Victoria’s Residential Tenancies Act 1997.

Before you move in

If the property does not meet the minimum standards, the rental provider must make sure that it does on or before the day you get the keys [section 65A].

If it does not, you have a right to either:

  • End the agreement if you have not yet moved in. That is, you have not stayed at the property, even if you have already moved your belongings in, or
  • Request urgent repairs [section 65A]

Already moved in

If a property does not meet the minimum standards, or falls below the minimum standards, during your agreement, the rental provider needs to arrange for urgent repairs to bring it up to standard.

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

Exceptions – heritage listed properties

If a property is heritage listed the rental provider may not have to meet some of the minimum standards. Heritage listing is one of the things you must be told before you rent the property – see our page Applying for a private rental property. Various exceptions for heritage listed properties are set out in the minimum standards below.

Rooming houses and caravan parks

The minimum standards do not apply to rooming houses, caravans, caravan parks or ‘Part 4’ sites. Rooming house minimum standards can be found on Consumer Affairs Victoria’s website.

Rooming house standards

The minimum standards

Locks

All external entry doors, other than screen doors, that are not able to be secured with a functioning deadlock must be fitted with a lock that is operated by a key from the outside.

Exceptions are:

  • Heritage listed properties where the request for permission to change locks has been refused
  • Public lobby doors which open onto common property

Bins

A rubbish bin and a recycling bin must be supplied which are:

  • Provided by the local council, or
  • Vermin proof and compatible with local council collection

Toilets

Your home must have a toilet and it must be:

  • In good working order and connected to an appropriate sewerage/wastewater treatment system
  • In a room or separate enclosed structure that is intended to be used as a toilet area, whether separately or as part of the bathroom or laundry

Bathrooms

Your home must have a bathroom and it must:

  • Be connected to a reasonable supply of cold and hot water
  • Have a washbasin
  • Have a shower or a bath

If there is a shower, the shower head must have a 3-star water efficiency rating unless one:

  • Cannot be installed, or
  • Would not work effectively due to the age, nature, or structure of the plumbing

If a 3-star rated shower head cannot be installed, one with a lower star-rating can be installed.

Kitchens

Your home must have a dedicated area for cooking and food preparation that has:

  • A sink in good working order that is connected to a reasonable supply of hot and cold water
  • A cooktop in good working order with 2 or more burners

If there is an oven, it must be in good working order.

Heritage exception

There is an exception for heritage listed properties where the request for a permit to make the required changes has been refused.

Laundry

If laundry facilities are present, they must be connected to a reasonable supply of hot and cold water.

Structural soundness

Your home must be both structurally sound and weatherproof.

Mould and dampness

Each room in your home must be free from mould and damp caused by, or related to, the building structure.

Electrical safety – standard starts in 2023

This minimum standard starts from 29 March 2023.

From that date, any property must have all power outlets and lighting circuits connected to a circuit breaker and a residual current device that complies with Australian standards.

Window coverings

This minimum standard started from 29 March 2022.

From that date, any property must have curtains or blinds fitted to each window in any room that is likely to be used as a bedroom or living area.

The curtain or blind must:

  • Be able to be opened and closed
  • Reasonably block light
  • Provide reasonable privacy

Windows

All external windows capable of opening must:

  • Be able to be set in a closed or open position
  • Have functioning latches to secure them against external entry

Lighting

Interior rooms, corridors and hallways are to have access to sufficient light, whether natural or artificial, appropriate to the function or use of those rooms.

All habitable rooms must have access to sufficient natural light during daylight hours and sufficient artificial light during non-daylight hours.

Heritage exception

There is an exception for heritage listed properties where the request for a permit to make the required changes has been refused.

Ventilation

All habitable rooms, bathrooms, shower rooms, toilets, and laundries must have ventilation which meets the Building Code of Australia ventilation standards.

Heating

Minimum standard from 29 March 2021

The main living room of your home must have a fixed heater that is in good working order – that is, not a portable heater. An existing fixed heater is not required to be energy efficient.

If there was no fixed heater in the main living room and one needs to be installed to meet this standard, it must be energy efficient. However, for class 2 buildings, such as an apartment building, the heater does not need to be energy efficient if it would be unreasonable to install such a fixed heater.

Minimum standard from 29 March 2023

From 29 March 2023 any property must have a fixed heater that is energy efficient in good working order installed in the main living area of the home. However, for class 2 buildings, such as an apartment building, the heater does not need to be energy efficient if it would be unreasonable to install such a fixed heater.

Energy efficient heaters

An energy efficient heater is:

  • A non-ducted air conditioner or heat pump with at least a 2-star energy rating
  • A gas space heater with at least a 2-star energy rating
  • Ducted/hydronic heating with an outlet in the main living area
  • A domestic solid-fuel burning appliance

Resources

Related pages

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