11 May 2020
COVID-19 and property access – an update
This bulletin supersedes tenant bulletin 18 issued on 6 April 2020.
Open Homes and Property Viewings
Provided that the tenant has granted access, the changes mean that home opens and/or routine inspections may be conducted with no more than 10 people on the premises at any time and allowing at least 4 square metres of space for each person in a room to comply with current social distancing requirements. In the interest of containing the spread of COVID-19, the agent holding the home open is now responsible for providing alcohol-based hand sanitiser at each entry and exit point for anyone who attends viewings and must encourage those in attendance to use it.
Where a property is tenanted, the agent is also responsible for ensuring best practice hygiene measures are followed by everyone viewing the property - this includes limiting unnecessary touching of items including fixtures or fittings. If children are in attendance, parents should be reminded of their obligation to closely supervise them.
The tenant has the right to be present and if the tenant and any family members are in attendance this will limit the numbers of persons who can attend as only 10 persons can be on the premises at any time.
Agents and landlords have been advised that they are responsible to keep accurate records of all persons attending an inspection. This will facilitate the tracking of potential sources of infection should it later be determined that a person attending an inspection has tested positive for the virus.
Confirmation that the current tenant is not in self-isolation
must be obtained before conducting an inspection. If the tenant is self-isolating the inspection cannot proceed and an alternative inspection time can be negotiated.
Where a tenant is practicing social distancing
due to being at increased risk from the effects of COVID-19, the landlord or agent should not attend the property without first discussing the hygiene expectations with the tenant to ensure cooperation for the inspection. It may be possible for the agent or landlord to organise alternative means of conducting the inspection. This could include a virtual inspection if a tenant agrees to video the property. Any alternative agreed method should not impose additional cost on the tenant.
Your house, My home: Rethinking renting in WA
Tenants are advised that the deadline for submissions to the Residential Tenancies Act Consultation
has now been extended to 30 June 2020. This extension aims to ensure all stakeholders have sufficient opportunity to provide a submission, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.