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Landlord entry rights and obligations
The landlord (or their agent) has the right to enter a property to carry out certain inspections, and the tenant has a duty to permit them to do so. However, there are rules about when a landlord can enter a property.
The landlord may enter at a date and time agreed to with the tenant. However, this agreement cannot be made more than seven days before entry.
In any other case, the landlord has the right to enter the property between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm on any day except public holidays, for one of the following reasons, if they give the tenant 24 hours’ written notice:
- carry out duties listed in the tenancy agreement or relevant laws
- value the property
- show prospective buyers or financial lenders through the premises
- show prospective tenants through the premises, if a notice to vacate (end the tenancy and leave the property) or notice of intention to vacate has been given. Prospective tenants can only be shown through in the 14 days before the termination date specified in the notice
- verify a reasonable belief that the tenant has not met their duties as a tenant, for example, damage to the premises or common areas, or using the premises in a way that caused a nuisance
- make one general inspection in any six-month period, but not within the first three months of the first lease agreement.
What can a landlord inspect?
A landlord can inspect the whole premises during an inspection. A tenant must keep the rented premises in a reasonably clean condition except when the landlord is responsible under the lease agreement for keeping the premises in that condition.
If the landlord believes the tenant has breached that duty, they can serve a Notice for breach of duty to tenant/s of rented premises (Word, 468KB).
Landlord’s notice of entry
To give tenants 24 hours’ written notice of entry, landlords can use our Notice to tenant/s of rented premises form (Word, 448KB). The notice must:
- be written
- state the landlord’s reason for entry
- be either posted (allowing extra time for delivery) or personally delivered to the tenant between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm. In country areas, an extra two days should be allowed for postal delivery times.
When can a landlord enter?
The landlord can enter between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm on any day except public holidays. If the tenant is home, they must let the landlord in, providing the appropriate notice has been given or agreement reached. Entry outside these hours, or without 24 hours' written notice, is only possible by agreement.
The landlord can enter if the resident is not at home, providing that an agreement has been reached or adequate and appropriate written notice has been given in the form required. However, it is recommended that a time is agreed when the tenant is at home for a landlord visit - this will help avoid possible disputes.
If a landlord enters rented premises without the agreement of the tenant or without serving the adequate and appropriate written notice, they do not have a legal right of entry and have committed an offence.
Restrictions on landlord inspections
The landlord may conduct a number of inspections, provided they comply with the above requirements. However, whether they are entering at an agreed time, or after 24 hours’ notice, the landlord cannot:
- exercise their right to enter in an unreasonable manner
- stay or permit others to stay any longer than necessary to do what is required, unless it is with the tenant’s permission.
Taking photos during inspections
An agent or landlord may take photos of a property during an inspection. This may include instances where the property is being sold or re-let, and the photos will be used to advertise it. In such cases, the tenant may ask that no photos taken identifying them as living there.
Keys and locks
The landlord can keep copies of all house keys but tenants should confirm that the landlord has a spare set when they sign the lease.
A tenant must get the landlord’s consent (which cannot be unreasonably withheld) if they want to change a lock. If the tenant believes the landlord is unreasonably withholding consent, they may apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for an order granting them permission to change the locks.
If the tenant changes the locks they must supply the landlord with a copy of the keys.
Rooming house owner entry rights and obligations
A rooming house is a building where one or more rooms are available to rent, and four or more people in total can occupy those rooms.
A rooming house owner (or their appointed agent) must give the resident 24 hours’ written notice before entering the room to:
- show the room to prospective residents, if the current resident has given notice that they are vacating or intend to vacate
- show people who are interested in buying the rooming house or lending the owner money on it
- do something the law says a rooming house owner must do
- confirm a reasonable suspicion that the resident has not met their duties under the residency agreement
- make a general inspection (allowed once every four weeks).
The rooming house owner must notify the resident in writing and tell them why they intend to enter the room. This notice can be given by post or delivered personally between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm.
If the notice is being delivered by mail to a country area, an extra two days should be allowed for postal delivery times.
Owners can enter the room between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm on any day, but not on public holidays.
An owner may only enter the room without giving 24 hours’ notice:
- if the resident agrees at the time
- if it is necessary to provide a service, in which case the owner can enter the room only during the hours stated in the house rules
- in an emergency to save a life or valuable property.
While visiting the room, the owner must behave in a reasonable manner and not stay longer than necessary, unless it is with the resident’s permission.
Caravan park and site owner entry rights and obligations
The site owner, caravan owner or caravan park owner or other authorised staff may only enter a site or caravan without prior notice:
- if the resident agrees at the time
- in an emergency to save a life or valuable property
- if the VCAT has made an order stating that the resident has abandoned the caravan or site.
If the owner gives at least 24 hours’ written notice, they may also enter to:
- show the caravan/site to prospective residents if the current resident has given notice or has been given written notice to move out
- show people through who are interested in buying the caravan (if the caravan is hired) or site, or lending the owner money on it
- make a general inspection, once in any six-month period
- carry out a duty under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997
- check a reasonable belief that the resident has not met their duties under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.
Notice may be given personally between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm or by post. If the notice is being delivered by mail to a country area, an extra two days should be allowed for postal delivery times.
During an inspection, a caravan park owner or site owner must:
- behave in a reasonable manner
- not stay any longer than necessary, unless the resident or site tenant agrees.
Privacy for rooming house and caravan park residents
Residents should be able to use the facilities of their caravan park, site under site agreement or rooming house without being bothered by other residents. This means that residents are not allowed to interrupt the privacy, peace and quiet of other occupants.
Likewise, owners must not unreasonably restrict or interfere with a resident’s privacy, peace and quiet or proper use and enjoyment of the rooming house or caravan park facilities.
Alleged misuse of a tenant or resident’s private information
Landlords or owners who collect personal information from the tenant may be bound by privacy laws. These place restrictions on how this information is passed on to third parties. If the tenant thinks their personal information is being misused, they should contact the Australian Information Commissioner on 1300 36 39 92 or visit the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website.
Security of residents’ goods in rooming houses
Rooming house residents have the right to feel their property is secure. The owner must take all reasonable steps to ensure security for residents’ property, especially if rooms are shared. If you are a tenant and are concerned about the security of your property, you can Contact us.