Getting repairs done on a rental property

Learn the steps to follow if you want to request urgent or non-urgent repairs to a rental property while you are a tenant.

Finger turning red mains power switch off at switchboard.

How do I request a repair be made?

There are two types of repairs: urgent repairs and non-urgent repairs

In both circumstances you should contact your landlord or real estate agent first. 

If you require urgent repairs and you can't contact your landlord or agent, then you can contact a repair person yourself - see your residential tenancy agreement for approved or preferred tradespeople to use - and have the costs reimbursed up to $1,000.

Hands holding wrench attached to plumbing pipes under sink.

What is an 'urgent repair'?

Urgent repairs are for any issue that threatens a property's structural integrity, poses a risk to lives, makes a property unsafe or insecure, or prevents access to essential services.

Essential service failure
  • gas leak
  • dangerous electrical fault
  • failure or breakdown of gas, electricity or water supply
  • burst water service or serious leak

  • blocked or broken toilet

Serious structural damage
  • flooding or serious flood damage
  • serious storm damage
  • serious fire damage
  • serious roof damage or leak

Essential appliance failure or breakdown

Steps to get urgent repairs done


Request repairs from the landlord or agent

Tell them – in writing if possible – about what needs fixing.


Follow up if you do not hear back

Follow up any conversations in writing.


      Keep a copy of your requests

      Keep a copy of any correspondence or conversations as evidence.


      If you don't hear back, check your lease for repair contacts

      If your landlord or agent cannot be contacted or is unwilling or taking too long to arrange repairs, check whether your lease includes details of a preferred tradesperson.


      Get the repairs done

      Get the repair work done by a licensed tradesperson, preferably one that has been recommended on your lease. 

      Your landlord or agent may not have to reimburse you for the cost of the repair if:

      • you caused the damage
      • you didn’t try to contact them about the repair
      • you didn’t give them a reasonable amount of time to organise the repair
      • the repair was not carried out by a licensed tradesperson.

      Send details of repairs and costs to your landlord or agent

      Make sure you send written details of repairs, including receipts for the costs, so you can get repaid.


      Get paid back up to $1,000 within 14 days

      You can get repaid for the cost of the work up to $1,000. Your landlord or agent must pay you back within 14 days of your notice.

      What is a 'non-urgent' repair?

      Non-urgent repairs are those that do not need fixing right away. For example, a broken cupboard or a cracked glass window. They are not threatening the property's structure or endangering lives, but will need to be done to keep the property in reasonable condition.

      Kneeling person holding phone camera in front of worn white painted door frame.

      Steps to get non-urgent repairs done


      Request repairs from the landlord or agent

      Tell them in writing what needs fixing and by when – give a clear deadline. 

      If you deal with a property agent, you can:

      • ask the property agency
      • contact the agency licence holder (the principal or manager)
      • contact your landlord direct.

      Follow up if you do not hear back

      Follow up if you have not heard back within a reasonable time frame.


      Keep a copy of your requests

      Keep a copy of any correspondence and a record of any conversations as evidence that you told the landlord/agent.


      The landlord or agent should arrange for the repairs to be done

      You may need to give your landlord or agent access to the property to assess the repair needs. Tradespeople will also need to get access to do the repairs. There are minimum notice periods for access to rental properties.

      Can you organise non-urgent repairs yourself?

      If you want to organise for repairs yourself, you need to:

      • have the landlord’s consent.
      • ask the landlord to pay you for any costs.
      • get their consent and agreement to pay in writing.

      They should pay you back within 14 days.

      What if things go wrong?

      If urgent repairs are not done:

      • do not stop paying the rent. If you stop paying your rent, you will be in breach of your lease agreement, and you could be asked to move out.

      For urgent repairs, you need to show that:

      • the problem needing repair was not your fault
      • you made a ‘reasonable’ attempt to contact the landlord/agent
      • you allowed the landlord or agent  a ‘reasonable’ chance to do the repairs
      • a repair person named in your tenancy agreement (if possible) or a licensed or qualified tradesperson did the repairs
      • you have copies of all receipts and records of conversations or letters that you have written.

      You will need to have your landlord or agent's agreement if any non-urgent repairs are needed and follow the steps outlined above to get them done.

      If a repair issue is not able to be resolved, you can lodge a complaint to NSW Fair Trading to get help. If the landlord or agent doesn't want to carry out the repairs, NSW Fair Trading may decide to issue a rectification order.

      If this still does not solve the issue, you can escalate the dispute to the Tribunal (NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)).

      To get help and support, go to the Tenants’ Union of NSW for legal advice, assistance, and information to tenants, with resources in community languages available. The NSW Aboriginal Tenancy Advice and Advocacy Services also offers assistance and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tenants.

      Request advice before a Tribunal hearing

      Do you have a date for a hearing in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)? Get advice from your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service.

      Use the Tenants' Union request form.

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