26 September 2023

Landlords warned that renters have privacy

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The Commissioner for Consumer Protection has addressed surprise visits on rented properties by landlords for her Blog this week, pointing out that people renting properties have the right to privacy.

The Commissioner, Patricia Blake, said that everyone has the right to privacy in their own homes and the claims of private landlords and property managers arriving unannounced for inspections, maintenance and rent collection is a common enquiry and complaint.

“In the past two years, our team has fielded 177 enquiries and 36 complaints from tenants on this front,” the Commissioner said.

“Tenancy laws in WA have strict procedures around when landlords and agents can access the property for reasons such as collecting rent, in the case of an emergency (like for urgent repairs), or for routine inspections,” she said.

“A maximum of four routine inspections only can be carried out per year, including for landlords who live elsewhere and want to visit the property the next time they are in the area.”

She said that in between inspections, tenants are entitled to privacy and the quiet enjoyment of their rental home.

“This means landlords and property agents should not be keeping tabs on them through other means,” Ms Blake said

“To arrange a routine inspection, a tenant must be given seven to 14 days’ notice and be provided with a notification that sets out the mutually agreed day and time.”

She said that if the process was not carried out correctly, tenants were within their rights to refuse entry as it is a breach of the tenancy agreement.

“On the other hand, tenants should not unreasonably withhold permission for access to the property when proper notice has been provided,” Ms Blake said.

“This could put them in breach of their lease and create a risk of eviction.”

The Commission said tenants having problems with surprise inspections were encouraged to lodge a complaint on the Consumer Protection website, email [email protected] or call 1300 30 40 54.

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