NSW Landlord's Rights to Enter the Premises
During a tenancy, it may be necessary for the landlord to access the premises. This may be to perform repairs, conduct inspections, or to show the premises to prospective buyers.
This guide covers landlords (or head-tenants) and tenants (or sub-tenants) in a Residential Tenancy. This applies to the majority of share accommodation and residential property rental situations. To confirm it covers your situation visit What is my share accommodation situation?
It is important to remember that during the tenancy, even though the landlord owns the premises, the tenant has been given exclusive occupation. This means that the tenant has the right to generally determine when other people are allowed into the premises. In the case of shared accommodation, this may mean that the tenant has the right to determine who and when other people, including the landlord, can access their room.
The best approach is generally for the landlord to ask for the tenant’s consent to enter and to agree on a mutually convenient time and day.
Entry with the tenant’s consent
The landlord can enter the rented premises at any time if the tenant gives consent. This is generally the best way for the landlord to gain access as it allows for a mutual agreement about how and when entry to the premises occurs. When there are multiple tenants, only one tenant needs to give consent.
In the share accommodation situations where the tenant has exclusive occupation of a room and shared use of certain facilities, the landlord will need to gain consent to enter the tenant’s room.
Entry without tenant’s consent or notice to tenant
There is a limited number of circumstances when the landlord can access the rented premises without the tenant’s consent and also without giving any notice to the tenant. These circumstances are:
- in an emergency
- to carry out urgent repairs
- if the landlord has serious concerns for the welfare of any person at the premises and has made a reasonable attempt to obtain consent
- if the landlord reasonably believes that the premises has been abandoned
Urgent repairs is work to repair the following: burst water service, broken water appliances causing substantial water wastage, broken toilets, serious roof leaks, gas leaks, dangerous electrical faults, flooding or serious flood damage, serious storm or fire damage, failure of gas, electricity or water supplies, failure of essential services for hot water, cooking, heating, cooling or laundry, faults / damage that make the premises safe or insecure.
Entry without tenant’s consent but with notice to the tenant
The landlord can also access the rented premises without consent after giving the tenant written notice in a limited number of purposes. These are:
- Periodic Inspections: 7 days written notice - the landlord can access the premises to conduct general inspections a maximum of 4 times in any 12 month period. The landlord must give at least 7 days written notice.
- Repairs: 2 days notice - the landlord can access the premises to conduct repairs or to determine whether they are necessary. The landlord must give at least 2 days notice. The landlord can only access the premises to perform repairs if they have the skills / qualifications necessary to perform them. For specialised repairs, such as electrical maintenance or pest control, the repairs should be conducted by a qualified trades person.
- Health and Safety Inspections: 2 days notice - the landlord can access the premises to comply with health and safety laws. The landlord must give at least 2 days notice.
- Valuation: 7 days notice - the landlord can access the premises to conduct a property valuation a maximum of once per year. The landlord must give at least 7 days notice.
- Show to Prospective Tenants: reasonable notice - the landlord can access the premises a reasonable number of times during the 14 days before the end of the tenancy agreement to show the premises to prospective tenants. The tenant must be given reasonable notice for these inspections. The landlord should be careful to not conduct an unreasonable amount of viewings. This can be avoided by trying not to inconvenience the tenant, or infringe on their privacy and normal use of the rented premises.
- Show to Prospective Buyers: 48 hours notice - if the tenant and landlord cannot agree on when the landlord can show the premises to prospective buyers, then the landlord can show the premises a maximum of twice each week. The landlord must give at least 2 days notice.
If the landlord wants to enter the premises without the consent of the tenant for one of reasons listed above, the tenant is obliged to give access. It is in the best interests of the tenant and landlord to cooperate as much as possible when the landlord lawfully enters the rented premises.
When and how can the landlord enter without consent?
If the tenant does enter the premises without consent, they can only do so at certain times and stay only for as long as is necessary. There are a number of rules:
- the landlord can only enter between 8am and 8pm
- the landlord must not enter on a Sunday or public holiday
- the landlord can only stay at the rented premises for as long as is necessary according to the purpose of entry
- the landlord should make every effort to notify the tenant of the day and time of the entry to the premises
These requirements to do not apply when entry is for an emergency, to carry out urgent repairs, or if the landlord believes that premises have been abandoned.
How do I resolve issues about access to the rented premises?
If issues arise for a tenant or landlord regarding access, the first step should be to negotiate a solution with the other party.
If negotiation does not work, then either the landlord or tenant can apply to the Tribunal for an order to resolve the problem. Landlords can seek an order from the Tribunal authorising them to enter the premises for any purpose listed above, as well as to determine whether the tenant has breached the tenancy agreement.
The tenant can seek an order limiting the time and days when a landlord (or agent) can access the premises for any purpose. The tenant can also seek an order for compensation for damage / loss to the tenant’s goods caused by the landlord (or agent) when entering the premises.
These legal guides provide a brief summary and introduction of the laws and regulations affecting share accommodation. They do not cover all cases in all legal jurisdictions and might not apply in your specific share accommodation situation. It is important that you use this information as a guide only and seek independent Legal Advice or consult the Relevant Acts. We do not accept any liability that may arise from the use of this information.