Privacy and entry rights for rental properties

We all have the right to enjoy our home. Quiet enjoyment is the right for both you and your neighbour/s to occupy, use and enjoy your homes in reasonable privacy without interruption.

Overall, your lessor (landlord) or property manager shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying your property in complete peace, privacy and comfort. 

Having said this there are a few exceptions where lessors have the legal right to enter premises. These relate to their right to conduct inspections or undertake necessary repair work. In those circumstances it is compulsory for the lessor to use Form 19 – Notice of proposed entry to notify the tenant. 

Rights of entry by the lessor or property manager

The lessor may enter the premises if:

  • it’s an emergency;
  • routine inspections are to be conducted (not more than four per year) and you have been given seven to 14 days' written notice;
  • your agreement states that rent will be collected at the property;
  • they need to inspect and secure the premises if they suspect the premises have been abandoned – the lessor must use a Form 12: Notice to tenant of abandonment of premises;
  • they need to carry out or inspect necessary repairs or for maintenance of the premises – after giving you at least 72 hours’ written notice;
  • they need to show the premises to prospective tenants in the 21 days before the end of an agreement, and have given you reasonable notice in writing;
  • they need to show the premises to prospective buyers, after giving reasonable notice in writing; or
  • you give your consent at the time.

Entry can only occur between 8 am – 6 pm on a weekday, 9 am – 5 pm on a Saturday, or any other time agreed between you and the lessor. Providing the lessor has attempted to find a time that does not unduly inconvenience you, given you proper notice and you have not attempted to make alternative arrangements with them, they can use their spare key to gain entry even if you’re not home at the time.

Inspections and repair work

Tenants have the right to be present when inspections or repair work are being done on the property they are renting. They have the right to negotiate a mutually agreeable time with the landlord. Tenants cannot unreasonably delay inspections or repairs where the delay could cause additional issues. In addition the landlord must not stay, or permit others to stay, on the rented property longer than is necessary without first getting the consent of the tenant.

Home opens

Tenants are entitled to be present at home opens for prospective purchasers or tenants.

If lessors don’t give proper notice or have some other legal right under the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 to enter the property, tenants can ask for it not to happen again, serve a notice on the lessor for not keeping to the agreement or seek an order from the Magistrate's Court about acceptable access.  

Is my real estate agent allowed to take photos in my house?

If your real estate agent takes photos of your possessions, and you are worried about your privacy, what can you do?

If photographs or video recordings are taken at the time the property inspection or other required activity by the lessor, it is recommended that all photographs or video recordings are sighted, signed and dated by all parties. The photos taken should not depict anything beyond what is necessary.  You should ask if the property manager intends to take photos and ensure personal items are put away before the visit. Photographs and/or video recordings are not a substitute for accurate written descriptions of the condition of the property

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner created the below video which highlights privacy rights.  Please note this was developed by a national government agency and does not cover specific WA's tenancy laws.  

Transcript

Is my real estate agent allowed to take photos in my house?

Tenancy laws (can) cover when your real estate agent is allowed to take photos in your house, and it is best practice for them to consult you about this.

If the agent collects personal information, such as images of photos or diplomas, they must handle it in accordance with the Privacy Act.

You should complain to the real estate agent if you feel they have mishandled your personal information. If you are not satisfied with their response, you can complain to our office for free.

For other concerns you should contact your State or Territory rental tenancy association.

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