How does COVID-19 affect access to a tenanted property? - Tenants bulletin issue 35
Please note this content was correct at the time of issue. As COVID-19 restrictions may change, please visit WA.gov.au to find the latest COVID-19 information.
28 June 2022
How does COVID-19 affect access to a tenanted property?
This bulletin explains how the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic emergency measures impact property access.
The usual right of entry provisions continue to apply.
Open homes and property viewings
Provided you have granted access, an agent or landlord holding a home open or a property viewing must meet the latest public health requirements. These requirements include encouraging people attending the property for a home open or viewing, including children, to wear a mask where physical distancing is not possible.
Contact registration is no longer mandatory for people accessing the property.
The agent or landlord should ensure anyone viewing the property does not touch any items, including fixtures or fittings, unnecessarily. If children are in attendance, the agent or landlord should remind parents of their obligation to ensure their children do not touch anything in the house. It would be reasonable to require anyone viewing the property to sanitise their hands prior to entering.
A viewing should not take place where a tenant is in isolation because they:
- have tested positive for COVID-19;
- are isolating while they await the outcome of a COVID-19 test; or
- have been instructed to isolate by WA Health.
An agent or landlord should confirm the tenant or any other occupant is not in isolation before conducting a physical property inspection. If the tenant is self-isolating, the inspection cannot proceed and an alternative inspection time needs to be negotiated.
Where a tenant is practising social distancing due to being at increased risk from the effects of COVID-19, the agent or landlord should discuss hygiene expectations with the tenant prior to attending the property.
An agent or landlord can organise alternative means of conducting inspections, including a virtual inspection if the tenant agrees to video the property. Many agents and landlords are using apps to conduct virtual inspections. Alternative agreed methods need to be agreed by the parties and not impose additional cost on the tenant.
Impact of isolation on the sale of a property and the end of a tenancy
Where a tenant is in isolation at the time of their vacate date they cannot be required to leave the property and breach health requirements.
When selling a property, it is recommended that the landlord consider including a clause in the sale contract about what should happen if a tenant or a tenant’s household is required to be in isolation and this causes a delay in settlement.
When a tenant is impacted by COVID-19, it may be reasonable for the landlord or agent to request evidence of any requirement to isolate. Where a person tests positive for COVID-19, after they report the result, they should receive an SMS from WA Health even if they have used a rapid antigen test.
COVID-19 cleaning requirements
WA Health has advised Consumer Protection that deep cleaning is not a requirement for vacating a premises and not based on any legitimate health advice.
Real estate agents, people selling or buying a home, tenants and landlords should refer to COVID-19 cleaning instructions on the Commonwealth Department of Health’s website.
When moving into a new home, you may not know if the property has been exposed to COVID-19, so it's a good idea to perform a clean of the property at the start of your tenancy.
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