Rental providers’ (landlords’) entry rights and responsibilities

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Rental providers (landlords) and their agents have the right to enter a property, but there are rules about the reasons they can enter and when they can enter.

There are also rules about what they can and can’t do when they are on the property.

Renters must let rental providers and agents enter if they are legally allowed to, and they have given the renter proper notice.

The rental provider must compensate the renters where the house is being sold and they are entering the property to hold an open inspection or show the house to a prospective buyer or lender.

Entering the property means coming onto the property as a whole. This can include the garden or outside of the property, not just the inside.

There are different rules for park operators’ and site owners’ entry rights and obligations and rooming house operator entry rights and obligations.

On this page:

Other pages have information about repairs, minimum standards and disputes.

Reasons a rental provider (landlord) or agent can enter the property

A rental provider or their agent can only enter the property for one of the following reasons.

  • General inspection – inspecting the property to make sure it’s in good condition (this is also sometimes called a routine inspection).
  • Repairs or other legal responsibilities – making repairs or doing something else the law says the rental provider must do.
  • Showing the property to renters, buyers or lenders – showing the property to people who might want to rent or buy it in the future or to people who might lend the owner money based on the property’s value.
  • Having the property valued – showing the property to a professional valuer or real estate agent.
  • Taking photos or videos – taking photos or making videos to advertise the property.
  • Renter has not met their obligations – having reasonable grounds to believe the renter has broken their legal obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act or their rental agreement (for example, the renter has damaged the property).
  • Family violence proceedings in VCAT – inspecting the property for VCAT proceedings if a renter has applied to end or change the rental agreement because of family violence).

There are rules about how much notice a renter must be given for each of these reasons. There are also specific rules about what must happen during entry for some of these reasons.

Telling a renter about a plan to enter the property

The rental provider or their agent must give the renter notice that they will enter the property.

How much notice a rental provider must give depends on the reason they’re entering the property.

Reason Minimum notice required
General inspection (routine inspection) 7 days
Repairs or other legal responsibilities 24 hours
Showing the property to renters, buyers or lenders 48 hours
Having the property valued 7 days
Taking photos or making videos for advertising 7 days
Believing the renter has broken their obligations 24 hours
Family violence proceedings in VCAT 24 hours

The notice must be in writing and state the reason for entry. The notice may be a letter or an email, if the renter has consented to receive notices electronically.

Delivering a notice

The notice must be delivered in one of the following ways:

  • by post, allowing enough time for delivery
  • personally to the renter between 8am and 6pm.

If posting, allow for mail delivery times, which depend on:

  • your delivery method
  • where you’re mailing your notice from.

It is important to allow enough time for mail to be delivered if you are posting the notice. The Australia Post website can help calculate delivery times. If you think you might need proof that you’ve sent the notice you can use registered post.

When a rental provider (landlord) can enter a property

The rental provider or their agent can only enter the property between 8am and 6pm on any day except a public holiday. Entry outside these times is only possible if the renter agrees. This agreement must be made no more than 7 days before the rental provider wants to enter the property.

If the renter has good reasons for wanting to specify or limit the times the rental provider can enter, they can apply to VCAT to order these limits.

Renters’ rights to refuse entry

A renter can only refuse entry for one or more of these reasons:

  • the visit isn’t between 8am and 6pm, or it’s a public holiday
  • they haven’t been given written notice
  • the notice wasn’t given to them properly (for example they weren’t told far enough in advance)
  • the rental provider wants to enter because renter has been given a notice to vacate but it’s before the last 14 days of the rental agreement
  • the rental provider wants to enter to do a general inspection, but one has already been done in the last 6 months.

Rules when the rental provider (landlord) has entered the property

The rental provider must act reasonably

The rental provider is allowed to enter the property as long as they act within the law. However, they must not:

  • exercise their right to enter in an unreasonable manner
  • stay or let other people stay any longer than necessary for the purpose of the entry, unless it is with the renter’s permission.

Unreasonable means behaving in a way that most people would think isn’t fair. For example, it might be unreasonable to come by once a week to make small repairs that aren’t really needed. Or it might be unreasonable for an agent to ask for a renter’s agreement for them to enter when they are at the property without having given notice.

If a renter thinks the rental provider is acting unreasonably, they can apply to VCAT. VCAT can make a compensation or a prohibition order if the rental provider has breached their duties. If the rental provider hasn’t complied with the law, the renter can apply to VCAT to stop the rental provider and their agent from entering the property for a set period of time.

The renter does not have to be home

The rental provider can enter if the renter is not home, if valid written notice has been given or the rental provider and renter have agreed this can happen. However, a renter being home during a visit may help avoid disputes.

Renters can not usually be required to leave the property

Rental providers sometimes ask renters to be absent during a general inspection or when they’re showing the property to prospective tenants or buyers, but the renter is not required to leave. However, a renter who has been excluded from the property because of family violence must not be there at any time.

Other people entering the property

The rental provider’s right to enter the property also includes anyone who needs to be there to achieve the purpose of the visit.

For example, if the reason for entry is to have the property valued, the valuer is allowed to enter too. If the reason is to have the property photographed, the photographer is allowed to enter too.

If it is a general inspection and the landlord has an agent, the agent should be there.

When a tradesperson or repairer comes to make repairs, they can bring a trainee.

Rules for general inspections (routine inspections)

The rental provider or their agent can inspect all of the property during a general inspection.

A general inspection may only be made after the first 3 months of the rental agreement. They can be done every 6 months at the most.

The general inspection is to check that the renter is keeping the property in good condition. If the rental provider believes that the renter is not meeting their obligations under the rental agreement, they can give the renter a Notice of breach of duty to renter of rented premises (Word, 121KB).

Rules for showing the property to renters

The rental provider or their agent can enter the property to show it to people who might rent it in either of these cases:

  • the renter has told the rental provider they are going to leave (given a notice of intention to vacate)
  • the rental provider has told the renter they want them to leave (given a notice to vacate).

The rental provider or their agent can show the property to one group of renters at a time, or hold an open inspection.

The open inspection must happen no more than 21 days before the end of the rental agreement. The end date will be specified in the notice to vacate or notice of intention to vacate.

The rental provider or their agent must not show the property to prospective renters more than twice a week, or for longer than one hour each time unless the current renter agrees to different arrangements.

If someone who lives at the property is a ‘protected person’ under family violence or personal safety law, they may require that property is only shown to prospective renters by appointment, rather than through open inspections. A protected person is anyone who has applied for or been given a family violence intervention order, a family violence safety notice, a non-local DVO, or a personal safety intervention order.

Rules for showing the property to buyers or lenders

The rental provider or their agent can enter the property to show it to people who might buy it if the property is going to be sold, or who might lend the rental provider money based on its value.

If they are showing the property to potential buyers, they can only do this if the renter has been told the owner is going to sell the property at least 14 days before they want to enter. They must use the Notice of intention to sell the property form.

The rental provider or their agent must make all reasonable efforts to agree with the renter on the days and the times that the property will be available for inspection. Reasonable means behaving in a way that most people would think is fair.

The rental provider or their agent may show the property to prospective renters no more than twice a week, and for no longer than one hour each time. However, they can ask the current renter to agree to different arrangements.

Rental providers must compensate renters for each sales inspection. The compensation is either half a day’s rent or $30, whichever is greater. For example, if a property has a weekly rent of $250, then the compensation would be $30 per inspection because half a day’s rent is only about $18. However, if the property has a weekly rent of $900, then the compensation would be $64 per inspection.

If someone who lives at the property is a ‘protected person’ under family violence or personal safety law, they may require that property is only shown to prospective buyers by appointment, rather than through open inspections. A protected person is anyone who has applied for or been given a family violence intervention order, a family violence safety notice, a non-local DVO, or a personal safety intervention order.

Rules for taking photos or making videos for advertising

The renter may object in writing if they are worried photos or video for advertising will show anything belonging to them that:

  • has the potential to directly identify them or reveal sensitive information about them or someone else living at the property
  • is valuable and would increase the risk of theft at the property
  • is unreasonable for them to remove or hide
  • could identify someone living at the property who is at risk of family violence or personal violence.

If the renter objects, the rental provider or their agent must not take photos or make videos that do any of these things.

If the renter has asked the rental provider not to include any identifiable or high value possessions in the advertising material, they may ask to look at it before it’s used. If so, the rental provider or their agent must not use the photos or videos before the renter has seen them and agreed in writing for them to be used.

If a photo or video wasn’t originally produced for advertising, the rental provider or their agent can only use it for advertising if the renter agrees in writing.

Rules for entry because of proceedings regarding family violence

The rental provider or their agent is allowed to enter the property for an inspection to check the condition of the property because VCAT has ordered that the rental agreement should change due to family violence. The rental provider must provide at least 24 hours’ notice before entering for this reason.

If there is a renter who has been excluded from the property because of the family violence, they can nominate someone to represent them at the inspection. They must provide the name and contact details of their representative before the inspection. These should be included on the notice of entry that is given to the renter still living in the property.

Damage during entry

If something belonging to the renter is damaged or taken while the rental provider or their agent is on the property, the renter may apply to VCAT to be compensated for their loss.

Disputes

It is best for rental providers and renters to try to work out disputes. However, if there is a serious breach, contact us so we can help you.

See more about resolving disputes.

Forms you might need

To tell a renter you are going to enter the property, use this form:

To tell a renter you are intending to sell the property, use this form:

To tell a renter they are not meeting their obligations under the rental agreement, use this form:

Renting law reforms

Victoria made significant changes to renting laws in 2021.

Some of the major changes to laws about rental provider entry rights and responsibilities include:

  • new minimum notice periods
  • there are now limits on the number of times a rental provider can show the property to prospective renters or buyers, and how long the inspections could last
  • there are now restrictions on open inspections when a resident is a protected person under family violence or personal safety legislation
  • renters can now seek compensation for loss of property as well as damage while a rental provider or their agent is on the premises.

Some language also changed:

  • Landlords are now called rental providers
  • Tenants are now called renters
  • Leases are now called rental agreements.

You can read about these and other changes in a summary of the reforms or in detailed fact sheets and guides.

Sections of the Act

If you want to know what the law says about rental provider entry rights and responsibilities, you can read these sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997:

  • Sections 85–91A – Rights of entry.