General inspections are a normal part of the renting experience and are generally carried out quarterly, or less frequently. These inspections give tenants an opportunity to raise any repair issues within their rental and allow the property manager/owner to ensure the property is being looked after.
At the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA), feedback we receive from our customers indicates general inspections can be a source of frustration for both tenants and property managers/owners, so we’ve addressed some of the common issues below to help ensure they run smoothly.
Entering the premises
Property managers/owners must issue an Entry Notice to their tenants at least 7 days prior to undertaking a general inspection and these inspections cannot be carried out more than once every 3 months (unless the tenant agrees in writing).
Entry must be between 8am and 6pm Monday to Saturday, unless the tenant agrees otherwise, and the Entry Notice must specify an exact time or a two hour time period during which entry will occur. Find out more on rules around entering a rental property.
Should the tenant have good reasons to request the general inspection time be changed – for example, if a family member has fallen ill in the home – the RTA encourages property managers/owners and tenants to negotiate and consider re-scheduling the inspection time.
The property manager/owner can also enter at any time without notice if the tenant agrees, but only at the time agreed to by the tenant or if it is an emergency.
Attending general inspections
Under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 (the Act), a general inspection can occur without the tenant being present.
Some tenants may prefer to be at home for the inspection, and the tenant may wish to inform and negotiate with the property manager/owner for a time that suits everyone.
Taking photographs during inspection
While the Act does not mention the taking and use of photos during general inspections, the RTA recommends property managers/owners should inform and consult with tenants before taking photos inside their home.
For more information around property managers/owners taking photos inside a rental property home, visit the dedicated tenancy webpage from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
General inspections can bring up a range of sensitive issues for both tenants and property managers/owners, including entering a home, privacy and lifestyle habits.
Respectful and open communication between all parties will help address any issues that arise and encourage a positive working relationship going forward in the tenancy.
For more information, view the RTA’s fact sheet on entry and privacy.
Please see our website or call the RTA contact centre on 1300 366 311 should you require any further information or assistance.