Landlords, owners and their agents have the right to enter the property, room or site to carry out certain inspections. Tenants and residents have a duty to allow them to do so; however, there are rules about when and how these inspections can occur.
Landlord entry rights and obligations
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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, 468 KB).
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, 448 KB). The notice must:
- be written
- state the landlord’s reason for entry
- be delivered either:
- by post (allowing extra time for delivery). In country areas, an extra two days should be allowed for postal delivery times
- by electronic communication (such as email), if the tenant has given written consent to receive notices and other documents this way, or
- personally to the tenant between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm.
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.