Who is responsible for repairs?


Rental law changes introducing minimum housing standards will come into effect for new tenancies from 1 September 2023, and for all tenancies from 1 September 2024.  

The property manager/owner is responsible for ensuring the property is fit to live in and in a good state of repair. The tenant must notify them of any repairs needed.

If a tenant, or their guest, damages the property, they may have to pay for repairs.

Example: if a tenant breaks a window by throwing a ball through it, they are responsible and have to pay for repairs.

Example: if a window falls out of the frame, and breaks, due to ageing putty that may be fair wear and tear and the property manager/owner may have to pay to repair.

The property manager/owner generally carries out any repairs or organises someone to do so. 

There are 2 kinds of repairs:

  • routine, and
  • emergency (general tenancies only).

The property manager/owner must carry out repairs within a reasonable time and comply with the entry rules. If there are any delays with repairs, the RTA recommends property managers/owners inform the tenant and keep the lines of communication open until the repair is finalised.

Emergency repairs in rooming accommodation

There are no rules about emergency repairs in rooming accommodation (apart from entry rules) and the tenant must not arrange emergency repairs.

Routine repairs

  • It is best to inform the property manager/owner of required repairs in writing.
  • Timeframes for repairs vary depending on the circumstances (e.g. availability of tradespeople) and the type of repairs needed.
  • The tenant should not carry out repairs without written permission.

Property manager/owner does not carry out routine repairs

  • If the problem has not been fixed, the tenant should try to resolve the issue by talking to the property manager/owner.
  • If routine repairs are not organised within a reasonable time, the tenant can issue the property manager/owner with a Notice to remedy breach (Form 11) giving them 7 days to fix the problem. Rooming accommodation tenants use Notice to remedy breach (Form R11) giving the property manager/owner 5 days to fix the problem.
  • If the problem cannot be resolved the RTA’s dispute resolution service may be able to help.
  • The tenant will also have the option to apply to the Tribunal for a repair order.
  • The tenant should never stop paying rent to ensure repairs are made. Non-payment of rent is a breach of the agreement.

Emergency repairs

The tenant should contact the property manager/owner or the nominated repairer (listed on the tenancy agreement) about the problem. It is a good idea to put the request in writing as evidence of notification.

If they cannot be contacted, the tenant can arrange for a qualified person to carry out emergency repairs to a maximum value of 4 weeks rent.

The property manager can also arrange to carry out emergency repairs and make deductions from the paid rent for the cost of repairs up to the equivalent of 4 weeks rent, before transferring the remainder to the property owner’s account. 

The tenant may make an urgent application to the Tribunal for a repair order if any of the following applies:

  • The tenant has not been able to notify the nominated repairer or the property manager/owner about the need for repairs.
  • The emergency repair was not made within a reasonable time after the tenant notified the nominated repairer or the property manager/owner.
  • The tenant is unable to arrange for a suitably qualified person to carry out emergency repairs themselves.

Emergency repairs are:

  • a burst water service or a serious water service leak
  • a blocked or broken toilet
  • a serious roof leak
  • a gas leak
  • a dangerous electrical fault
  • flooding or serious flood damage
  • serious storm, fire or impact damage
  • a failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply
  • a failure or breakdown of an essential service or appliance on the property for hot water, cooking or heating
  • a fault or damage that makes the property unsafe or insecure (for example, this may include repairs relating to smoke alarms or electrical safety) 
  • a fault or damage likely to injure a person, damage property or unduly inconvenience a tenant
  • a serious fault in a staircase, lift or other common area of the property that unduly inconveniences a tenant in gaining access to, or using, the property.

All other repairs are considered routine repairs.

Paying for emergency repairs

If the tenant pays the repairer they need to give all receipts to the property manager/owner who must pay them back within 7 days.

Alternatively, the tenant may ask the property manager/owner to pay the repairer directly.

Disagreement about emergency repairs

If the tenant and property manager/owner do not agree about the emergency repair, or if the tenant has not been reimbursed for repairs within 7 days, they can apply to QCAT for a decision.

Rental law changes around repairs 

Changes to legislation around repairs came into effect on 1 October 2022. These changes included the introduction of repair orders. A repair order ensures that managing parties take action to address repairs to a rental property and its inclusions in a timely manner.  

Further reading: the Repair orders fact sheet outlines the process around repair orders answers frequently asked questions.  

For further information watch the Repair orders and other amendments webinar or listening to the Repair orders and more podcast.  


Notice to remedy breach (Form 11)
v13 Jun21

The Notice to remedy breach (Form 11) is used during the tenancy where either the tenants or the lessor/agent claim that there has been a 'breach' of one (or a number) of terms of the residential tenancy agreement.

74.6 kB Download

Notice to remedy breach (Form R11)
v4 Jun21

The Notice to remedy breach (Form R11) is used during a rooming accommodation tenancy to let the other person know there is a problem which must be fixed within a specific timeframe.

73.3 kB Download
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