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

Safety requirements

Renters should report safety devices needing repairs to the rental provider (landlord), who must treat anything that makes the property unsafe as an urgent repair. Certain safety responsibilities for renters and rental providers are specified in Victoria’s rental laws.

Renter’s responsibilities

It is a renter’s duty, or responsibility, to not remove, deactivate or interfere with any of the following safety devices located at the rental property, unless it is reasonable to do so [section 63A]:

  • Smoke alarms
  • Carbon monoxide alarms
  • Residual current devices (circuit breakers)
  • Swimming pool barriers
  • Fire sprinkler systems, fire hose reels, fire blankets, fire extinguishers, fire windows and fire hydrants
  • Security cameras located in a common area
  • Any emergency lighting
  • Hot-water safety devices [regulation 25]

Note that all the sections in brackets on this page, such as [section 3], refer to Victoria’s Residential Tenancies Act 1997. References in brackets to regulations and schedules, such as [regulation 25], are to the Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021. See the bottom of this page for links to all of these.

Reporting safety device issues

Renters should report safety devices needing repairs or maintenance to the rental provider (landlord) in writing as soon as possible [sections 62 and 72AA]. Anything that makes the property unsafe or unsecure must be treated by the rental provider as an urgent repair [section 3].

Consumer Affairs Victoria’s standard form rental agreement (lease), for agreements started from 29 March 2021, specifies that renters must give written notice to the rental provider as soon as possible if either of the following are not working:

  • A smoke alarm
  • A swimming pool barrier

See our page, Repairs and maintenance for more information getting repairs done.

Relocatable swimming pools

If you want to erect a relocatable pool under the new standard form rental agreement, which applied from 29 March 2021, you must first give the rental provider written notice and get all necessary approvals [section 27C].

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) has more information on relocatable pools and spas.

Rental provider’s responsibilities

There are several safety-related duties, or responsibilities, that rental providers must undertake. They are included in Consumer Affairs Victoria’s standard form rental agreement, used for all written rental agreements started from 29 March 2021 [sections 26 and 27C].

Power safety checks

The rental provider must make sure gas and electrical safety checks are carried out every 2 years. These must be undertaken by a licenced or registered gas fitter or electrician [Regulations, schedule 3].

Records of the most recent checks must be kept by the rental provider until the next one is done, and include:

  • The gas fitter’s or electrician’s name
  • Registration or licence number
  • The date of the check
  • Any outstanding recommendations for work on the property’s gas or electricity [section 68B, regulation 30]

Before you sign

From 29 March 2021, before you are asked to sign a new rental agreement the rental provider must tell you the date of the last gas and electrical safety checks and any outstanding recommendations [section 30D, regulation 30].

If checks are not done

If information on gas and electrical safety checks are included in a rental agreement that started on or after 29 March 2021, and have not been done in the last two years, the rental provider must arrange them as soon as possible [Regulations, schedule 3].

Smoke alarms

The rental provider must ensure smoke alarms are correctly installed and working and are tested every 12 months according to the manufacturer’s instructions. They must also make sure batteries are replaced as required [Regulations, schedule 3].

The rental provider must also give you the following information about any smoke alarm before or on the day you move in:

  • How it works
  • How to test it
  • Information about your responsibilities not to tamper with any smoke alarm and to report if any are not working

Pool barriers

If there is a pool at the property, the rental provider must ensure a barrier (pool fence) is installed and is in good working order [Regulations, schedule 3].

Water tanks in bushfire-prone areas

If the property is in a bushfire-prone area and requires a water tank for firefighting, the rental provider must ensure:

  • The tank is full and clean at the start of the rental agreement
  • The tank and its connections are in good repair [Regulations, schedule 3]

Safety checks in condition reports

The condition report for your rental agreement (lease) must include the dates of the most recent:

  • Gas and electrical safety checks
  • Smoke alarm test
  • Pool barrier compliance check [section 35; Regulations, schedule 1]

Renter’s copies of safety checks

Renters are entitled to a copy of the most recent:

  • Gas and electrical safety checks
  • Pool barrier compliance check

If you want a copy, you must put your request in writing to the rental provider, who has 7 days from the time they receive the request to give you a copy [regulation 30].

Failure by the rental provider to give you a copy of the most recent checks is a breach of duty under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. You can give them a ‘notice for breach of duty’ [section 68B]. See our page, Rental provider breaches and other notices.

You can also take action to get the repairs done. See our page, Repairs and maintenance for more information.

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