Landlords can enter their rental properties at certain times, for certain things. They must give the right amount of notice, or get their tenant’s permission. They must also respect the tenant’s peace and privacy.
Access to the property
The property is the tenant’s home
The landlord owns the property, but while the tenant rents it it’s their home. This means the landlord must respect their peace and privacy (this is called quiet enjoyment).
If the landlord needs to come inside (for example, to do an inspection or to fix something) they need to give the correct amount of notice, or get the tenant’s permission. Otherwise they may be breaking the law.
The landlord can also come inside if they have a Tenancy Tribunal order allowing entry, or if there’s an emergency, like a fire or flood.
Inspections tells you how inspections should happen.
Landlords can enter the property to fix something
Landlords must give tenants at least 24 hours’ notice before entering the property to do any necessary repairs or maintenance. These repairs should be done between 8am and 7pm. Any repairs or maintenance that is not necessary, like cosmetic improvements, may be done at a mutually agreed time.
Repairs and damage explains who’s responsible for fixing and paying for any damages or repairs in a rental property.
Landlords can't give notice for open homes
You can’t give notice to your tenant if you want to have an open home or show potential buyers through the house.
Sale of a house tells you everything you need to know about gaining access when a rental house is on the market.
Landlords can enter the grounds without giving notice
Landlords don’t need to give notice to come onto the property (the land). This usually happens when the landlord has agreed to do things (like mow the lawns for the tenants). The landlord is also usually responsible for maintaining the outside of the house and property (like pruning trees and cleaning the guttering), so they will need to come on to the grounds for those reasons. But the landlord does have to avoid interfering with the tenant’s peace, comfort and privacy.
Landlords must not use force to enter the property
The landlord must not use force, or threat of force, to enter or attempt to enter the property while the tenant, or anyone with the tenant’s permission, is inside. A landlord who does this commits an offence and is liable on conviction for a financial penalty or imprisonment.
Boarding houses have special rules for entry
When the landlord can enter the boarding house explains the rules for entering boarding houses and conducting inspections.
Tips to help prevent problems with access
At the start of a tenancy
For both landlords and tenants
- Discuss whether the tenant(s) want to be present at inspections and maintenance visits.
- Discuss any specific access requirements, such as suitable time of day or days of the week.
- Recognise some landlord/tenant situations need very clear agreement about access. These include: where a landlord is a next door neighbour or lives on the same property, a landlord maintaining grounds, access with dogs and so on.
- Establish who is authorised to undertake inspections. Will it be the landlord, landlord’s partner, family member, agent, or a combination of these?
- Advise the tenant that regular inspections will be undertaken, and explain the lawful process for these inspections.
- Explain that an inspection is an opportunity for the tenant to discuss any maintenance matters that are of concern to them, and that it’s not just about you looking to find faults.
- Disclose any plans for future maintenance.
- Let your landlord know if there are specific times of the day that will not suit you for an inspection and tell them why. For example: you work night shifts and sleep during the day.
During a tenancy
- Phone the tenant before issuing written notice for an inspection to check if the proposed time is convenient. Be flexible and willing to change the inspection time if needed.
- The tenant doesn’t have to be present during inspections, but you should ask if they wish to be.
- If you want to renovate inside the property during the tenancy you should discuss this with your tenant. You can’t give notice to enter the house for renovations.
- Even though you don’t have to give notice to come on to the section, if you are planning any renovations (like house painting) you should get the agreement of your tenants as this is likely to cause disruptions to them.
- If you have any concerns about the access time, it’s best to contact your landlord immediately. You and the landlord should try and negotiate another suitable access time.
- Advise the landlord of any change of circumstances that may impact on their ability to access the property (e.g. a change in your hours of work).
At the end of a tenancy
For both tenants and landlords
- In most cases the final inspection will take place after the tenancy has ended. You should agree on a time to meet and go through the house together.
- Having a copy of the initial property inspection report might help to resolve any questions about damages that were there when the tenancy started.
- Refunding bond has more about filling in the bond refund form at the end of a tenancy
- Key rights and responsibilities has more on what you need to do when a tenancy ends
- Return all keys to the property to the landlord.