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Published: November 2022

Floods and renters

Flood information

Floods are affecting renters in many parts of our state right now. We’ve compiled some practical information to help renters navigate the challenges. Take care everyone.

Landlord responsible for flood repairs

If your rental home is damaged by floods, you are only responsible for the cleaning that arises from your use of the property.

It is the landlord’s responsibility to clean and clear away any debris caused by a disaster.

If your home suffers relatively minor damage from flooding, you can serve the landlord a notice for repairs to be carried out within 14 days as usual.

If repairs are urgent, you should contact your landlord in writing immediately to arrange for the repairs to be done. Flooding or serious flood damage are urgent repairs under Victorian rental laws and need to be done as soon as possible.

For all repairs make sure to record the damage that needs repairing through photos, videos and written notes.

For more information see our webpage on Repairs.

Landlord insurance might not cover renters

Generally, landlord insurance does not cover emergency accommodation or damage to a renter’s property in the case of floods. However, if you are unsure, this is a question you can ask your landlord or agent.

The only way landlord’s insurance might cover you as a renter is if the loss was caused by them, and therefore would be caught under the public liability part of an insurance policy. For example, if a landlord failed to fix a hole in the roof which resulted in stormwater getting in and causing damage.

Notices to vacate if your home is unfit to live in

A landlord can give a notice to vacate for you to leave your rental home immediately after a natural disaster if it is unfit for human habitation, totally destroyed, or destroyed to the extent that it is unsafe.

There can sometimes be a dispute about whether the standards of ‘unfit for human habitation’ or ‘unsafe’ have been met. If you are in doubt, or have any questions after receiving such a notice, please get in touch on our floods priority line.

Floods priority line
For renters affected by Victorian floods with a flood-related inquiry
(03) 9411 1444
9.30am-1.30pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays)

Support for community legal centres

Tenants Victoria is supporting local community legal centres to assist renters affected by floods, including ARC Justice, Hume Riverina Legal Service and Mallee Family Legal Service, as well as organisations such as the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service.

Find a community legal centre near you

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

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