My rental property is not what I expected after I moved in - What do I do?

By Anika Legal | Mon 26th Feb. '24

Moving to a new country is often exciting… until you arrive at your new home and find it looks completely different to what you expected!

This might be because the photos online were out-of-date or just completely false, or because the property hadn't been cleaned properly when the last tenants left.

If you find yourself in this situation once you move into your new home, here is what you can do:

Step 1 - Make sure you complete your Entry Condition Report

Ideally, your landlord or their agent should give you an Incoming Condition Report at the start of your tenancy for you to fill out. This report allows you to document the condition of the property as you move in.

When going through your new home to fill out this report, make sure you:

  • Look for and document any pre-existing problems in the property and note it down in the report
  • Clearly document the state of cleanliness at the Property when you moved in
  • Whether the photos the rental provider included in the report matches the current condition of the premises.

Once you have completed the Incoming Condition Report and given it back to the rental provider or agent, the report will become evidence of the state of repair at your Property when you arrived.

Step 2 - Communicate with the landlord or their agent

If the property looks different to what you expected, tell them your concerns promptly!

We recommend you:

  1. Provide specific details about how the property looks different (ideally in writing).
  2. Ask if they can address these concerns (this might involve organising repairs).
  3. Keep a copy of your correspondence as evidence.

Remember that you might need to show your emails or texts as proof of these requests in the future.

  1. Formally request repairs and maintenance

If the agent or landlord doesn’t respond to you or refuses to repair the Property, you can formally request that the landlord repair the issue by sending a Notice of Breach.

Under Victorian law, landlords are obligated to maintain the property in a reasonable state of repair (including meeting the minimum rental standards). They must fulfil:

  • Non-urgent repairs within 14 days (e.g. broken cupboard handles); and
  • Urgent repairs within 2 days (e.g. gas leaks).

If you’d like more information regarding repairs, please see our article titled “What is the difference between a duty to repair and a duty to maintain?”.

Step 3 - Look for FREE legal help

Remember, if you need more help to speak with the rental provider, you can consider reaching out to free legal services..

We have a list of free services in our article titled “How do I get legal help when I have a rental problem?”.

Where to next?

We hope that you’re able to get your issues resolved quickly - whether that means getting the property fixed to match the advertisement photos, or ending your lease validly (do not break your lease!) and finding somewhere better!

Please feel free to reach out to Anika Legal for help. You can ask us for help with a Victorian bond dispute even if you're overseas by filling in our online form here.

We last updated this page in February 2024. Please remember that this is only legal information. If you're thinking about taking action, you should chat to a lawyer for advice about your situation first.

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