Advice is general in nature, consult a legal practitioner for your specific circumstances.

Repairs for public housing

From time to time you will need repairs to your rented home. The laws in Victoria require that all landlords – including the Director of Housing – keep rented homes in good repair.

The Victorian government provides limited public housing for people on low incomes.

The department that manages public housing in Victoria is Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS).

The landlord for public housing tenants is the Director of Housing.

The law is the same for public housing tenants and private residential tenants, but some of the steps are different.

Asking for repairs

If something in your rented home needs repairs, contact the Housing Call Centre as soon as possible on 13 11 72 .

You can call the Housing Call Centre 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (only call after hours if it is an urgent repair).

Tell them what language you speak and the Housing Call Centre will organise an interpreter.

When you call the Housing Call Centre it is important to tell them:

  • your name and phone number
  • your address
  • what the problem is (what’s not working or needs repairing)

Describe the problem in detail. Be very specific. For example if you have a dripping tap, tell the operator whether it is the hot or cold tap. As another example, if you have a broken stove let the operator know if the stove is gas or electric, which element is broken etc.

Always ask the Housing Call Centre for the Scheduled Contract Number (SC Order). This is a record of your call.

Urgent, priority or non-urgent repairs

Repairs can be classified as urgent, priority or non-urgent repairs.

Urgent repairs

These are repairs that need to be fixed within 24 hours.

They include:

  • a burst water service
  • a blocked or broken toilet
  • a serious roof leak
  • a gas leak
  • a dangerous electrical fault
  • flooding or serious flood damage
  • serious storm or fire damage
  • a failure or breakdown in the supply of water, hot water, cooking, heating or laundry service supplied by the Director of Housing
  • a serious fault in a lift or staircase
  • a fault or damage that makes the property unsafe (including faulty or damaged smoke alarms)

Priority repairs

These repairs need to be fixed within 7 days. Priority repairs are repairs that are serious but do not present an immediate danger to health and safety. For example, a dripping tap. If the tap is leaking a large amount of water then it may be approved as an urgent repair. When you speak to the Housing Call Centre you need to be specific and tell them how much water is leaking.

TIP: A good way to measure how much water is leaking is to put a saucepan under the leak and count how long it takes for the saucepan to fill up or how many times it fills up in a certain time (eg 1 hour).

Non-urgent repairs

These repairs need to be fixed within 14 days. They are repairs that are not considered urgent or a priority. Examples include a damaged kitchen cupboard, a hole in the wall, a broken blind or a damaged clothesline.

Getting repairs done

Once you have contacted the Housing Call Centre they will arrange for a contractor to come to your property to fix the problem.

If it is an urgent repair the contractor should come within 24 hours.

If it is a priority or non-urgent repair then the contractor will contact you to arrange a suitable time to come to your property.

The contractor must show identification before you let them in.

If you are not home the contractor will leave a calling card. This will include the date and time they called, plus their name and telephone number.

You do not have to call the contractor. Call the Housing Call Centre on 13 11 72 and tell them what is on the card. They will then call the contractor and arrange a suitable time.

What if repairs aren’t done?

You can call the Call Centre again and tell them the work hasn’t been done. You can also contact us.

If it is an urgent repair you can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for an order that the repairs be done.

If it is a non-urgent repair, you should write a letter to Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) requesting that they carry out an inspection. A Consumer Affairs inspector will visit your property and if repairs are needed, the inspector will contact the Director of Housing to organise for the repairs to be done within a specified time.

If the repairs are still not done, the Consumer Affairs inspector will send you and a copy of their repair report. You can then apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for an order that the repairs be made. Contact us for advice to help you apply to VCAT and help you prepare for the hearing.

You have a right to complain! You should take the above steps or make a complaint if the repair wasn’t fixed within the specified time, if the work is of poor quality or if the contractor acted in a rude or offensive way.

Once the work has been completed you will be asked to sign the work order. Do not sign a blank work order!

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