If the landlord breaks any of these rules, it’s called a “breach of duty”:
- repairs not done – the home is not kept in good repair, repairs are not done well, or not done on time (section 68)
- “quiet enjoyment” disturbed – the landlord or agent doesn’t let you enjoy your home in peace, for example they come to your home without enough warning, without giving you a written notice, or without a proper reason (section 67)
- not clean – the home is not reasonably clean on the day you move in (section 65)
- not vacant – there are other people or their things in the home on the day you move in (section 65)
- no locks – locks are missing from external doors and windows (section 70)
- no keys – the landlord changes a lock that has a key but does not give you the new key (section 70)
- water products below standard – replacement products are below the minimum rating for water-saving. For information about water ratings see WELS (website) (section 69)
Note: the information on this page refers to tenants and the relevant sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (RTA). There are similar (but not identical) sections that apply for rooming house and caravan park residents.
If you need to apply to VCAT it will be up to you to prove your case, so the more evidence you have of the landlord’s breaches and any losses you have suffered the better.
Keep copies of all your evidence as you go, like all your communication with the landlord, agent or anyone else involved (such as a tradesperson), photos or videos, and receipts or quotes if you are asking for compensation.
TIP: It is a good idea to scan or copy all your evidence into the “cloud” or email it to yourself for safe keeping. It is also a good idea if you have any witnesses to the problem that you ask them at the time to prepare a statutory declaration or other statement as to what they witnessed.
If the landlord has breached any of their duties and you have suffered loss or substantial inconvenience as a result, you can claim compensation from the landlord.
You can report the breach and apply for compensation at the same time. But it may be better to wait until the breach is fixed before you apply for compensation. This is because you may not be able to fully calculate the loss you have suffered until the problem is fixed.
If you have already moved out, you do not need to serve a breach of duty notice. You can make your compensation claim by applying directly to VCAT.
If you would like to claim compensation for a breach, or breaches, see compensation for tenants.