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Your rights under
the Residential
Tenancies Act 1987
and Residential Tenancies
Regulation 2006.

As a tenant you have rights under the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 and Residential Tenancies Regulation 2006. This fact sheet explains what you can do if you think your home is contaminated by lead.

Lead in residential premises

Lead in residential premises can be harmful, especially to small children and pregnant women. Lead is most commonly found in old paint (before 1970), soil and dust in the roof.

If you think your home is contaminated with lead, get information and advice from:

  •  the Global Lead [Poisoning Prevention] Advice and Support Service (see below)

  • your local council

  • your doctor – about blood tests and health effects.

Then you can decide whether you want stay in your place and have the landlord to fix the problem, or you want to leave.

If you want to stay

Under the Residential Tenancies Act, your landlord must provide premises which are clean and fit for habitation and maintain the premises in a reasonable state of repair.

You are legally obliged to tell your landlord of any repairs needed, or any damage to the premises. You also cannot make any renovation or alteration to the premises without the landlord’s written consent.

Therefore, if you think there is lead in your place, contact your landlord or the real estate agent immediately to sort out a solution. Confirm all conversations and agreements in writing and keep copies of all letters.

If your landlord has agreed to make the necessary repairs, make sure that attempts to fix the problem do not make things worse. Removal of lead needs to be done carefully and safely. Contact the Global Lead Advice and Support Service (GLASS) for advice and referral on safe methods of removal of dust and paint.

If the landlord refuses to do repairs, you can apply to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT) for orders

  • that the repairs be done

  • for a rent reduction for the time that you were unable to use parts of the premises

  • for compensation for any loss to you caused by your landlord breaking the terms of your residential tenancy agreement (i.e. failing to do repairs)

  • that rent be paid to the tribunal until the repairs are done.

If you want to leave

If you want to leave, you need to end your residential tenancy agreement. See Factsheet 09: You want to leave.

If you want to leave because the landlord/agent refuses to do repairs, it may be better to apply to the CTTT first for an order that they must do the repairs. You can always agree in conciliation to move out of the premises at a time that suits you. You may also ask for a rent reduction and/or compensation.


Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal

The tribunal decides disputes between landlords and tenants and can order your landlord to do necessary repairs, reduce the rent, pay compensation and/or end your agreement.

Get advice from your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service before taking action in the tribunal.

The tribunal will need evidence from you to make the orders you want, such as:

  • your residential tenancy agreement

  • all correspondence between you and your landlord

  • drawings and photographs of the premises

  • samples of contamination

  • reports of professional lead assessment

  • medical reports

  • reports by your local council's building or health inspectors

  • receipts for expenses paid

  • printed material on lead hazards. (e.g. factsheets from GLASS such as "Lead paint & ceiling dust management - how to do it lead-safely".

You can seek an urgent hearing of your matter at the tribunal –  apply as soon as you can. If you think that your landlord is breaking the terms of your agreement, you have 30 days to apply. You can ask for an extension of time to apply, if necessary.

In tenancy matters, the tribunal cannot make orders worth more than $10,000. For compensation over this amount, you will have to sue in a court. If you have suffered significant injury, get advice from a community legal centre about court action before taking action in the tribunal. (To find your local community legal centre see


The Global Lead [Poisoning Prevention] Advice and Support Service:
phone 02 9716 0132, free call 1800 626 086,

Updated: Sep 2008

Further help on tenancy issues:

Tenants NSW website:
Tenants Hotline: 02 8117 3750 or 1800 251 101
Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services: see the Tenants NSW website or call the Tenants Hotline to find your local general or Aboriginal service Renting Services (NSW Office of Fair Trading): 133 220

Other factsheets on tenancy issues:

This is one of a series of factsheets on tenancy issues. Other factsheets are available from or your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service

Important: You should also read Tenants Rights Factsheets
1, 6, 9 and 11  

Produced by Tenants' Union of N.S.W. with assistance from The LEAD Group Inc.
Based on original work done by the Inner Western Tenants Advice & Advocacy Service.
(Tenants Rights Fact Sheets were first developed by Western Sydney Tenants Service. January 1999)

Links to other states websites

Tenants Union of Queensland
Tenants Union of Victoria
Tenants Union of New South Wales
Tenants Union of Tasmania
Tenants Union of ACT
Tenant Advice Service Western Australia
Shelter South Australia
Northern territory

LawStuff – National Children’s and Youth Law Centre
Federal Privacy Commissioner
ACOSS (Australian Council of Social Services)
InfoXchange – Victorian-based (Australian) housing site.
Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute
Australian Federation of Homelessness Organisations

The LEAD Group Inc. Fact Sheet Index

NSW Lead Reference Centre and NSW Government Publications On this site

  1. About the Global Lead Advice and Support Service (GLASS)

  2. Main Sources of Lead

  3. How Would You Know If You or Your Child Was lead poisoned?

  4. Lead aware housekeeping

  5. Ceiling dust & lead poisoning

  6. Is your yard lead safe?

  7. Health Impacts of lead poisoning

  8. Rotary Questionnaire

  9. Lead poisoned Pets and Your Family

  10. Childhood Lead Poisoning Risk Factor Questionnaire

  11. Is Your Child Safe From Lead? - What Can You Do About Lead?

  12. Lead in Drinking Water in Australia

  13. Have We Really Resolved The Lead Issue?

  14. The Importance of the Availability of "Spot Tests" for Lead in Paint

  15. Pregnant or Planning a Pregnancy

  16. Breastfeeding and Lead

  17. Lead in breast milk

  18. Beware The Lead In Lead Lighting

  19. Renting and Lead

  20. What to do if you have too much lead in your tank water

  21. Lead Contamination in Stormwater

  22. Contamination At Shooting Ranges

  23. Banned: Leaded Wick Candles

  24. Lead, Ageing and Death

  25. Metal miniatures: How to minimise the risks of lead poisoning and contamination

  26. 7 Point Plan for the MANAGEMENT OF LEAD by Australian parents and carers

  27. Countries where Leaded Petrol is Possibly Still Sold for Road Use, As at 17th June 2011

  28. Lead Poisoning And The Brain - Cognitive Deficits And Mental Illness

  29. Facts and Firsts of Lead

  30. Lead mining royalties by state and territory

  31. Lead Mining Stewardship - Grey Lead and the Role of The LEAD Group

  32. Preventative Strategies of The LEAD Group

  33. What do Doctors need to do about Lead?

  34. A Naturopath's Experience Of Lead & People With Diagnosed Mental Illness

  35. Case File: Helping Manage Australian Lead in Petrol - How GLASS Works

  36. Glass Web & Service-Users, Experts & Volunteers, by Country; Countries with Leaded Petrol for Road Use & Worst Pollution

  37. Lead in ceiling dust

  38. Lead paint & ceiling dust management - how to do it lead-safely

  39. Esperance parliamentary inquiry follow-up factsheet: Where to from Here??

  40. Broken Hill lead miners factsheet 1893 with Note 20081015

  41. Helping a Doctor Help 35,000 Lead-Poisoned People Around the Lead Smelter at La Oroya in Peru
    Ayuda a un doctor que ayuda 35,000 personas envenenadas por plomo alrededor de la fundidora de plomo en la Oroya-Peru

  42. Fact sheet for Australian toy importers and traders

  43. Iron Nutrition & Lead Toxicity
    Informe de Acciones – Hierro y Plomo en la Nutrición

  44. Sanitarium-Are You getting Enough Iron

  45. Do-It-Yourself-Lead-Safe-Test-Kits-flyer

  46. Blood lead testing: who to test, when, and how to respond to the result

  47. Dangers of a blood lead level above 2 µg/dL and below 10 µg/dL to both adults and children

  48. Lead Exposure & Alzheimer’s Disease: Is There A Link?

  49. In CHINA - Blood lead testing: who to test, when, and how to respond to the result

  50. Why you should have your ceiling dust removed before you take advantage of the Australian government's Energy Efficient Homes Package: Insulation Program

  51. Alperstein et al Lead Alert - A Guide For Health Professionals 1994

  52. Ceiling Dust WorkCover Guide Lee Schreiber Final Nov 1999

  53. What can I do about climate change AND lead?

  54. The Need for Expert Clinical Assessments in Diagnosis Of Heavy Metal Poisoning

  55. Why you should have your ceiling dust removed before you have insulation installed

  56. Thirty Thought-Starters on Ceiling Void Dust in Homes

  57. Pectin: Panacea for both lead poisoning and lead contamination

  58. Nutrients that reduce lead poisoning June 2010

  59. Lead poisoning and menopause

  60. Fact sheet For Schoolkids From Professor Knowlead About Lead

  61. Prevention of Exposure to Lead at Work in Indonesia

  62. Mencegah kontak dengan timbal di tempat kerja di Indonesia

  63. How to Protect Your Family from Lead in Indonesia

  64. Bagaimana melindungi keluargamu dari timbal di Indonesia

  65. Cigarette Smoking & Lead Toxicity
     صحيفة معلومات: التدخين والتسمم بالرصاص

  66. Medical Evaluation Questionnaire For Occupational Lead Exposure

  67. Dangers of a blood lead level above 2 µg/dL and below 10 µg/dL to children

  68. Dangers of a blood lead level above 2 µg/dL and below 10 µg/dL to adults

  69. Biosolids used as fertilizer in China and other countries

  70. What are the lead poisoning risks of a lead pellet, bullet or shot lodged in the body?

  71. Alcohol’s link to higher lead and iron levels

  72. USA Case Definition of Adult (including Occupational) & Child Elevated Blood Lead Levels (EBLL)

  73. Low Level Lead Exposure Harms Children - A Renewed Call for Primary Prevention

  74. Occupational Health & Safety Fact Sheet Dangers of lead for roofers

  75. Let’s Make Leaded Petrol History - Let’s Make Leaded Gasoline History

  76. Lead, Your Health & the Environment. Available in Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean, Macedonian, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese 

  77. Lead Safe Housekeeping

  78. Old Lead Paint

  79. Working safely with lead

  80. A Renovator's Guide To The Dangers Of Lead (Brochure 30 pages)

  81. A Guide For Health Care Professionals (Brochure 34 pages)

  82. A Guide To Keeping Your Family Safe From Lead (Brochure 20 pages)

  83. Lead Hazard Management In Children's Services (Brochure 15 pages)

  84. A Guide To Dealing With Soil That Might Be Lead-Contaminated

  85. Exposure Assessment: Lead Neurotoxicity - Is the Center for Disease Control's goal to reduce lead below 10 µg/dl blood in all children younger than 72 months by 2010, good enough?

  86. Foods for Lead Detox - Foods which Fight Lead Poisoning
    Alimentos para la Desintoxicación de Plomo - Alimentos que Luchan contra el Envenenamiento con Plomo

  87. Veganism - How do you obtain all the nutrients from a vegan diet that are important to lead exposed individuals?

  88. Blood Lead Challenge - Take the blood lead discovery and reporting challenge;
    El Desafío del Plomo en la Sangre - Descubra el nivel de plomo en la sangre y desafíe las estadisticas;
    Défi de Plomb dans le sang - Partez à la découverte de plomb dans votre sang et informez nous:

About Us | bell system lead poisoning | Contact Us | Council LEAD Project | egroups | Library - Fact Sheets | Home Page | Media Releases
| Q & A | Referral lists | Reports | Site Map | Slide Shows - Films | Subscription | Useful Links |  Search this Site

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Last Updated 14 March 2015
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PO Box 161 Summer Hill NSW 2130 Australia
Phone: +61 2 9716 0014