Victoria 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. If the landlord seeks to enter the premises legally, then the tenant must allow them to enter and should cooperate as much as possible.
Entry with the tenant’s consent
The landlord can enter the rented premises at any agreed 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.
The landlord and tenant should agree on when entry can occur. The landlord is only allowed to enter in the 7 days after the tenant gave consent and agreed to a particular entry time.
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.
When can the landlord enter without the tenant’s consent?
While the best option is generally for the tenant and landlord to agree about when entry should occur, there are a limited number of circumstances where the landlord can enter without the tenant consenting.
Emergencies—no notice required
If there is an emergency that requires the landlord to enter the premises, then they do not require the tenant’s consent or need to give the tenant notice. There is no set list of circumstances that constitute an emergency, however they may include:
- tenant, occupant, or guest is seriously injured
- imminent danger to any person
- premises in need of urgent repairs
- premises in danger of being seriously damaged or destroyed (e.g. fire)
Other circumstances—notice is required
In all other circumstances, the landlord must give at least 24 hours notice before entering. The landlord should use the Notice to Tenant form, specifying the date and time that they intend to enter.
The landlord can only enter between 8am and 6pm, but cannot enter on a public holiday. When the landlord does enter the premises, they must do so in a reasonable manner. This means they should try to avoid disturbing the tenants as much as possible and not cause any unnecessary interference. The landlord, and anyone else accompanying the landlord, must only stay for as long as is necessary.
The circumstances where the landlord can enter without consent are:
- Show to prospective tenant - if the landlord has given the tenant a notice to vacate, or the tenant has given the landlord a notice of intention to vacate, then the landlord can enter the premises to show it to a new prospective tenant. This can only be done in the 14 days before the termination date specified in the original notice given by the landlord or tenant.
- Show to prospective buyer - if the landlord intends to sell the premises, then they can enter to show it to a prospective buyer.
- To fulfil landlord’s obligations—e.g. repairs - the landlord can enter if it is necessary to fulfil any of their obligations under the the tenancy agreement or the Tenancy Act. For example, the landlord can enter if they need to conduct repairs or maintenance to the premises.
- Conduct a valuation - the landlord can enter the premises to conduct a valuation.
- Tenant has breached agreement - if the landlord reasonably believes that the tenant has not complied with any of their duties under the tenancy agreement, then they can enter to determine whether that is the case. For example, if the landlord believes that the tenant has not kept the premises reasonably clean, then they can enter to determine whether that is the case.
- Inspection—maximum once every 6 months - the landlord can enter to conduct a general inspection of the premises a maximum of once every 6 months. The landlord cannot enter for an inspection within the first 3 months of a tenancy however.
- Family Violence order - if the tribunal makes an order regarding entry by the landlord in the event of family violence.
How does the landlord give notice of entry? In the seven circumstances listed above, the landlord must give a written notice of entry at least 24 hours before the proposed entry time. The best option is to use the Notice to Tenant form. Landlords must include the reason for entry on the notice.
The notice must be given either by post, or by giving it personally to the tenant between 8am and 6pm.
What happens if the premises is damaged when the landlord enters?
If the premises is damaged during the entry by the landlord, or anyone the landlord brought with them, then the tenant can seek compensation through the Tribunal. The best option is to first discuss the damage and any compensation with the landlord. If this does not lead to a favourable outcome, then it may be necessary to apply to the Tribunal.
What are the tenant’s options if the landlord enters illegally?
If the landlord has entered the premises illegally (e.g. without consent and for none of the reasons listed above), then the tenant can apply to the Tribunal for a restraint order that prevents the landlord from entering again. Before making any application to the Tribunal however, the best option is usually for the tenant to discuss the situation with the landlord to try to make an agreed settlement. A good option may be to communicate more clearly in the future regarding entry.
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.