What are Landlord Rights when Accessing Premises?

During a tenancy, the landlord, property agent or a person acting on the landlord’s behalf can access the leased premises if they provide notice and follow the correct procedures.

Typically, access is sought to conduct inspections, complete maintenance, and repairs, or show the property to prospective buyers.

While some new investor landlords may think they can enter their property once the tenant has moved in, tenants do have the right to privacy when renting.

I know of several incidents where new investors made the mistake of accessing their property without seeking the tenant’s permission. Two of these were recent.

In one incident, an owner was showing his family through a property he had recently purchased while the tenant was out shopping; the tenant came home to find them all in her living room.

Another occasion involved a tenant arriving home to find the landlord and his wife wandering around the backyard of the rental property checking the condition of the lawn and garden.

In my time as a property manager, I’ve heard numerous accounts of landlord investors carrying out their own repairs and stories of tenants returning home to discover cupboards and doors left open – without the tenant receiving any prior notice.

Australian law has many rules and regulations in place to protect landlords as well as tenants.

Rights and responsibilities vary by state, with NSW governed by the Residential Tenancy Act and laws can change. It is essential for landlords, especially new investors to acquaint themselves with these laws and regulations, so they understand what is permitted and expected.

Know your rights and responsibilities

The key regulations related to accessing property during a tenancy are:

  • No-one can inspect a property prior to giving the tenant notice
  • Seven days’ written notice must be given to carry out a routine inspection
  • No more than four times a year can an owner/agent inspect the property
  • 24 hours’ written notice must be given for emergency repairs or by negotiation
  • A notice must be provided either by email or letter.

Entering a rental property without notice is a breach of the tenant’s ‘quiet enjoyment’. It’s also classed as trespassing and a breach of security. Police may become involved depending on the situation.

By and large, tenants who experience a breach of their privacy and security will want to break their lease and move out, vacate as soon as the lease expires or request the locks to be changed.

These outcomes are far from ideal for either party.

During the tenancy, it’s important to remember that while the landlord owns the property, the tenant has the right to determine when other people are allowed in.

What’s the best approach?

For self-managing landlords, the best approach is generally for the landlord to request the tenant’s consent to enter the property and agree on a mutually convenient time and day.

Another approach is to find an experienced and qualified property manager to own the tenant relationship and communicate with them directly. Good agents understand the rules and regulations which avoids new investors making common and costly first-time landlord mistakes.

Need more information?

Stills Properties has been managing investment properties for Sydney landlords for over 30 years, contact us to discuss your investment property management needs.

Also, Fair Trading NSW has more details on notice before entry requirements.


Managing you own Investment Property – why would you?

What price a headache?

“Save money,” they say.  “It’s easy,” they say.  “Anyone can do it,” they say.  On the face of it, ‘they’ appear to have a point.  On the face of it!  Scratch the Investment Property surface however and there’s a whole untold story behind those glib statements.

Time is Money

At Stills Properties we get it – property investors want to make money, not spend it.  But how valuable is your time?  The old adage ‘time is money’ never rang more true than when it comes to managing your own investment property, because how much of your family time are you prepared to commit to:

* Dealing with late-paying tenants?
* Evicting a bad tenant?
* Finding a new tenant when the current one leaves?
* Performing regular property inspections?
* Organising necessary repairs?
* Keeping up-to-date with applicable legislation?

Continue reading…


Pet-friendly landlords can earn more in rent

Landlords – consider the pet-friendly route to a 10-15% rent premium!

If you have an investment property then you have an interest in the real estate market. If you have an interest in the real estate market then you’ll be fully aware of changes in recent months. The long-running seller’s market suddenly switched to a buyer’s market with prices sliding steadily over a few months.

A buyer’s market in sales translates to a tenant’s market in rentals. The pool of potential tenants decreases as more people opt to take advantage of falling prices and buy their own home. Add to this the enormous number of new apartments going up everywhere you look and supply is beginning to outstrip demand by some margin. Tenants have more to choose from and they’re becoming more selective and demanding.

Continue reading…


Illegal Subletting: The Issues and Risks for Property Owners

In suburbs across every Australian capital city, and in almost every major holiday destination along the East Coast, you can find a short-term rental property listed through Airbnb.

Most of these short-term rentals are being listed by the property owner, either an investor or owner-occupier, but increasingly tenants are illegally subletting a room or the whole property, unbeknown to the owner.

Continue reading…


Managing Your Investment Property Lease Renewal During the Holidays

Over December and January is a tough time to lease an investment property. With vacancy rates peaking early in the New Year, tenants have more choice and are in a better position to negotiate.

If you can avoid having to deal with your investment property lease renewal during the holidays, you’ll save yourself a lot of unnecessary time, money, and worry.

But if you must find new tenants during the holiday period, how can you best manage it?

Continue reading…