TenantsTips / Australia / Access and Privacy Rights in Rental Properties

Access and Privacy Rights in Rental Properties

During the time of your tenancy it may on occasion be necessary for other people to enter your rental premises. This can be the landlord, maintenance workers or prospective tenants who have come to look at the property.

Although these people should be granted access to the premises there is a procedure that should be followed to allow both tenant and landlord time to prepare for visits.

TenantsTips takes a look at the procedure for landlord access and tenant’s right to privacy.

What are the tenant’s access and privacy rights?

As a tenant you are entitled to privacy in your rental premises. A landlord or agent should not invade your privacy or cause or permit anyone else to do so.

What are the landlord’s access and privacy rights?

The landlord must not enter the premises unless they have a justifiable reason and have informed you of their intention to call at the property. This rule applies regardless of your presence at the property.

Agreeing to landlord entry:

If you are willing to allow a landlord to enter your rental property this agreed visit can take place at the premises at any time.

Acceptable cases for landlord entry without tenant consent:

There are certain cases where a landlord or agent can enter the premises without your permission or consent and without giving you notice. These include the following cases:

 

  1. To carry out urgent repairs.
  2. If the premises have been abandoned or the landlord has reason to believe this is the case.
  3. In accordance with an order from an official body or organization.
  4. If a landlord or agent has tried to obtain your consent and have reason to believe they should be concerned about the health of a person on the premises.
  5. In case of an emergency.

 

Entry with landlord notice without tenant consent:

It is possible for your landlord to enter a property without your consent in certain cases. The reasons for entry include health & safety checks, maintenance assessment and valuation.

Entry when you are not present:

Where possible you should try to be home when you are expecting a visit from your landlord or another person calling to carry out checks. If you are unable to be there, try to arrange for someone to be there on your behalf.

Interference with your privacy:

Examples of interference include:

 

  • A maintenance worker turning up unannounced.
  • A landlord calling at the property unannounced.
  • Potential buyers calling at the property unannounced.

 

My privacy has been invaded what should I do?

First of all you should complain to the landlord/agent in writing and ask that they stop breaching your tenancy agreement. Keep a copy of the letter for your records. You can also apply to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal for orders such as the following:

 

  • To prevent a landlord from accessing your rental property (Apply within 3 months after you become aware of the landlord’s/agent’s breach).
  • To order a landlord to adhere to a responsibility as detailed in your residential tenancy agreement (apply at any time during the tenancy).
  • To get permission to change a lock or prevent the landlord from obtaining a key to the premises.
  • To agree times and reasons for when a landlord may gain access to a property (apply at any time during the tenancy).
  • End your tenancy.
  • For reimbursement for lost or damaged goods. (Apply within 3 months after you become aware of the loss or damage).

 

N.B: Landlords usually only want to gain access to a property in order to ensure that they are meeting the terms of the rental agreement. Most of the reasons for entry are actually necessary in order to maintain standards. Try to keep your relationship with your landlord positive if possible. If you genuinely feel that the landlord is being unfair in terms of gaining access to the property try to discuss this issue with them before it escalates into an issue. Many tenant/ landlord issues can be avoided if both parties have good communication skills, are well informed and have a good understanding of the Residential Tenancies Act (2010).



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