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Tenancy Tip Thursday - Entering the property

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by D.T., 8th Oct, 2015.

  1. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    Hiya's,

    This weeks tip is about landlords / PM's entering a tenant's property. My write up is based on South Australian legislation but most states are similar on this. I'm happy for PM's or experienced investors to contribute any differences to their state (providing link to Act or source would be good too).

    Landlord's Right of Entry, as SA's Residential Tenancy Act 1995 defines it in Section 72 outlines when, why and how a landlord (or their PM) can enter a rented property.

    1) Firstly, in an emergency, the property can be entered straight away without notice. This should be common sense, but I'm sure it happens very rarely. IE call from tenant saying help the house is on fire!

    2) A LL/PM can also attend the property for the purpose of collecting rent. This doesn't really happen these days because of electronic methods, but is allowable for a maximum of once per week at a time agreed with the tenant. A weeks notice needs to be given, only if it's going to occur outside Normal Hours (I'll come back to what Normal Hours means)

    3) Inspections are the main reason a LL/PM would want to enter the property. At a minimum, these have to be 4 weeks apart and notice has to be given 7 days in advance and can't be more than 14 days in advance (can't be too helpful to tenants or they'll forget :p). The purpose (inspection), the date and the time need to be on that notice. The time can be specified as a 2hr block (during Normal Hours) which you'll arrive and leave within even if that is not the duration required.

    4) Carrying out garden maintenance, again with 7 - 14 days notice and specifying the date and time (within Normal Hours)

    5) Carrying out repairs or maintenance other than garden stuff only requires 48 hours notice within Normal Hours. There could be some items which may be borderline considered the above, don't you think?

    6) Showing the premise to prospective tenants. This can only done during the last 28 days of their lease or termination. It can be done on a reasonable number of occasions with reasonable notice and only during Normal Hours, Use common sense for defining reasonable. There may be some debate here over whether it's better to do multiple appointment viewings with 1 applicant or one Open with multiple people attending. The SA Act doesn't specify anything on this but I believe the Victorian one might.

    7) Showing the premise to prospective buyers. Interesting how this is treated differently to prospective tenants! The limit on this is twice in any 7 day period (unless tenant agrees to more) at a time agreed upon with the tenant. Obviously its a bit inconvenient for the tenant, but they must not unreasonably refuse. If no agreement can be found, then it can be at any time during Normal Hours where reasonable notice can be provided. It's probably best to stick with the latter arrangement to keep everyone happy.

    8) To go see if a previously served breach notice has been remedied. This could be things like cleanliness or damage. Minimum 7 and maximum 14 days notice has to be provided along with the purpose, date and time (which must be during Normal Hours.)

    9) Some other purpose not fitting any of the above. I don't think it's likely you'll find anything not fitting into one of the above but you need to give notice identically to #8 and the tenant has to consent.

    10) If the LL/PM believes on reasonable grounds that the tenant has abandoned premise (more on this in a future tip).

    Right. So two questions; First, what the heck is Normal Hours? The Act defines this as being 8am through 8pm, every day except Sunday or Public Holiday. This means if you wanted to schedule a routine inspection for 7.30pm Saturday night you very well could. Of course, following the law and being sensible to all the stake holders can be 2 different things so use some common sense :)

    Second question - does the tenant have to be home? For items 1), 8) and 10) no they do not need to be home. For all others, if the tenant indicates they want to be at home then reasonable effort has to be made to arrange for the visit to occur when the tenant can be present.

    "Reasonable" is mentioned a few times in this section. I take it to mean be thoughtful of others and use some common sense. If PM, LL and TT are all happy, life is so much easier for everyone involved.

    Share your thoughts / problems / questions / experiences ?
     
    Last edited: 8th Oct, 2015
    Kael, DaveM, Lil Skater and 2 others like this.
  2. D.T.

    D.T. Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    Lil Skater likes this.
  3. DaveM

    DaveM Adelaide Buyers Agent & KFC Strategist Business Member

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    To expand on this, in SA a selling agent cannot market or show the property until 14 days after they have given the tenant a notice of intent to sell. Until this time the tenant can refuse entry, so be aware of this PM's and sales agents alike.
     
  4. legallyblonde

    legallyblonde Well-Known Member

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    Tassie
    A landlord/agent may enter the residential premises between 8am and 6pm,

    I find this much more reasonable than 8pm!
     
  5. DiligentPM

    DiligentPM Well-Known Member Business Member

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  6. DiligentPM

    DiligentPM Well-Known Member Business Member

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    Hi

    Queensland identifies that a reasonable time to visit a property with tenant in place is between 8 a.m to 6 p.m.

    Likewise, to undertake a routine property inspection there must be 7 days notice taking into account postage time with a maximum of quarterly inspections (tenants have a right to peaceful enjoyment of a property)

    24 hours notice required for other matters such as:

    Follow up inspections when assessing if a significant breach has been addressed

    To carry out repairs etc

    To follow up if repairs have been undertaken

    To show a property to a prospective tenant or purchaser

    To undertake a valuation or to check is a property has been abandoned if the PM suspects that the property has been abandoned
     
    Last edited: 11th Oct, 2015
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  7. Lil Skater

    Lil Skater Well-Known Member Business Member

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    Melbourne
    Hello!

    In Vic a LL/Agent can enter the property between 8am and 6pm any day, except a public holiday or Sunday.
    Notice must be in writing giving no less than 24 hours notice, but no more than 7 days. Must provide the reason of entry, be given by post or hand delivered. (Mind you this is outdated because of the electronic communications, and email/SMS is now accepted)

    Access can be requested for the following -
    • Last 14 days of tenancy after a notice to vacate to show prospective tenants through.
    • Sale of property
    • Valuation of property
    • Carry out duty as landlord (ie. repairs)
    • Routine inspections (not more than every 6 months, or 3 months in the case of the first inspection for a new tenant)
    If any of the tenants belongings are damaged during entry the tenant can apply to VCAT for compensation. A tenant can also apply to VCAT restraining a LL/their agent from entering the premises for a certain period of time if they do not comply with the above.

    Also, fun fact. A little while back a tenant won a VCAT case for "quiet enjoyment" due to multiple open for inspections during a sales campaign.
     
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