Paying rent & requesting repairs

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A landlord is the person who owns the place you rent. Some landlords manage their rental properties by themselves, but a lot of them use property managers.

Property managers usually work for real estate agents, looking after lots of rental properties on behalf of lots of different landlords.

Whether you're dealing directly with your landlord, or going through a real estate agent or property manager, these are the people you'll be paying rent to and asking to organise repairs to your place.

This page covers information about:

> Paying rent
> Requesting repairs
> What to do if you have problems with your landlord
> Links to helpful organisations

Paying rent

Your lease should have specific instructions about how much rent you're supposed to pay and how often you have to pay it. Rent can be paid in person or using direct debit.

Note that if a landlord wants you to pay using direct debit, they have to let you know before you sign your lease.

Once you've signed the lease you're responsible for paying rent on time. You can't stop paying rent until your lease has officially ended - even if you're in the middle of a dispute with your landlord.

For more about signing leases, check out our Signing a lease page.

When you pay rent, getting a receipt is a good idea - it proves you've paid on time.

If you're paying your rent by electronic funds transfer (EFT) or direct debit, make sure there's enough money in your bank account to cover it, otherwise your payment will be late.

Consumer Affairs Victoria has some good information on their Rent responsibilities and increases (new window) page about asking for receipts and what to do if you have trouble with your payments.

What happens if my rent is late?

If you know that you won't be able to pay your rent on time, the first thing you should do is contact your landlord/property manager and ask if you can arrange for a later payment. They may be totally fine with the occasional late payment.

 If your rent is 14 days late or later, your landlord or property manager is legally allowed to ask you to move out by giving you a legal letter called a "notice to vacate". You don't have to move out if you get a notice to vacate, though - you can challenge your landlord/property manager's claim if you want to.

It's also illegal for a landlord to physically make you move out of your rental property - only the police can to that, and only after a series of legal steps have been taken.

To find out more, check out the Tenants Union of Victoria's Notice to Vacate (new window) and Eviction (new window) pages.

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Asking for repairs

The law says landlords have to make sure the place you're renting is in good repair and reasonable condition before you move in. They also have to take care of repairs while you're renting.

If anything breaks or stops working while you're renting you may be able to get your landlord to fix it. If things break or are damaged because of things you've done, though, you're responsible for paying for the damage.

There are two kinds of repairs: "urgent" and "general".  The Tenants Union of Victoria Repairs fact sheet (new window) has an explanation about the difference between urgent and general repairs and how to ask for repairs from your landlord, but here's a quick overview.

Urgent repairs

If a repair is urgent, your landlord has to arrange to have it fixed within 2-3 days of being told about it. If they haven't arranged repairs, you can arrange them yourself and either pay for them, then ask your landlord to reimburse you, or get the bill sent to your landlord.

Urgent repairs are things like:

  • A blocked toilet
  • A leaking roof
  • A gas leak
  • No hot water
  • Any damage that makes your house unsafe

General (non-urgent) repairs

If a repair isn't urgent, the landlord or property manager has 14 days to arrange for repairs. If they don't arrange repairs in that time, you can report them to Consumer Affairs Victoria to negotiate for repairs to be made on your behalf.

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Problems with your landlord

For more information about what to do if you have problems with your landlord, check out our Problems with the landlord page.

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Links

Tenants Union of Victoria
For residential tenants living in Victoria who require information on their legal rights.

RentRight App
This free app has heaps of advice for renters, including email templates for requests like repairs to the property that can help smooth communication between renters and landlords/property managers.

Consumer Affairs Victoria  - Renting
Advice on dealing with disagreements between landlords, agents and tenants.

Renting a Home: A Guide for Tenants (.pdf)
This Consumer Affairs Victoria handbook explains landlord, tenant and agent rights and responsibilities under Victorian residential tenancy law.

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