Accessing a rental property during a tenancy - Tenants bulletin 33
3 December 2021
Accessing a rental property during a tenancy
Consumer Protection is aware of some recent cases where landlords and property managers have incorrectly tried to access a tenanted property. These cases have resulted in some serious outcomes, including the involvement of the Western Australian Police Force. This bulletin will provide information about what your landlord or property manager needs to do to lawfully access your home.
When does my landlord need to provide me with advance written notice?
In most cases, a landlord or their property manager must provide you with advance written notice for access to your rental property. The residential tenancy laws set the content of the forms that must be used to provide the notice, as well as the delivery method and required timeframes.
The landlord must use the Form 19 Notice of proposed entry to premises to provide the advance notice when seeking access for the following reasons:
- To conduct a routine inspection, with up to four routine inspections allowed during a 12-month period.
- To inspect or carry out necessary repairs or maintenance.
- To show the premises to prospective tenants or buyers.
- To inspect the premises and assess any damage, if a tenant’s interest in the tenancy agreement is terminated on the ground of family violence.
- Any other purposes.
If the landlord seeks access to inspect and secure the premises because they believe it’s abandoned, the landlord needs to use the Form 12 Notice to tenant of abandonment of premises. They must deliver the notice by leaving copies at the property and your last known place of employment. Our abandoned rental properties and goods page will provide more information about this process.
Sometimes your landlord or property manager may need to access the property to check on issues identified during a previous routine inspection. Checking on the repair or remedy of issues does not count as another routine inspection, so long as they are only inspecting the previously identified areas of concern.
Your landlord or property manager finds weeds in the rear garden beds and that the lawn has not been mowed during a routine inspection. They can issue you with a notice for the breach of agreement for not maintaining the garden and give you 14 days to fix the issues.
The landlord or property manager will need to issue you with another Form 19 notice to check you've fixed the breach. The access may fit either the ‘inspect any necessary repairs or maintenance’ or ‘any other purpose’ categories, if all they are reviewing and commenting on is the weeding of the garden beds and mowing of the lawn.
If your landlord or property manager reviews or comments on other areas of the property during this follow-up access, they will be in breach of the agreement as they have conducted a routine inspection without providing you with proper notice.
When does my landlord not need to provide me with advance written notice?
Your landlord does not need to provide written notice to access the property for the following reasons:
- in case of any emergency;
- to collect rent as per the terms of the tenancy agreement; or
- if you give consent at or immediately before time of entry.
How does my landlord correctly issue the forms?
Your landlord or property manager can serve a notice by emailing or handing it to you. They can also post it by ordinary mail, which Australia Post delivers.
The forms specify the amount of advance notice required for each applicable access reason. Your landlord or property manager must allow enough time for the specified period of notice, plus time for delivery, to ensure they serve the form correctly. If your landlord or property manager does not serve the notice correctly, the notice may be invalid and any entry to the premises will be unlawful.
Your landlord or property manager cannot alter or remove any content from any of the forms. They may risk the notice becoming invalid if they alter or remove any content.
Does my landlord need to negotiate the date or time for access with me?
Your landlord or property manager does not need to negotiate the proposed time and date with you before providing the notice.
However, if the proposed entry date and time inconveniences you, you are allowed to negotiate a reasonable alternative date and/or time with them. Your landlord or property manager must make a reasonable effort to negotiate a time and/or date that does not inconvenience you.
You need to be reasonable in your requests to reschedule the proposed access. If you refuse access to the property and refuse to negotiate a reasonable alternative date and/or time, your landlord or property manager may issue you a notice for a breach of the tenancy agreement. If you continue to breach the agreement by refusing access, your landlord may issue notice to terminate your tenancy. Alternatively, your landlord may seek an order from the Magistrates Court for access.
Can I be present during the access?
If your landlord or property manager correctly issues the relevant notice and you do not raise any concern with the proposed entry, it would be reasonable for the access under the terms of the notice to happen.
You have the right to choose to be present at the time your landlord or their representative accesses the property. If you cannot be present at the time stated on the notice and you cannot negotiate an alternative time, you can ask a friend or a relative to be there instead.
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