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Understanding notice and access rights

24 Dec 13

Owning property in Australia comes with many unique laws and regulations intended to respect landlords' rights while protecting tenants. One aspect of real estate legislation that focuses on this relationship concerns privacy.

After all, even though you may own a home, renting it out to tenants means respecting their rights as human beings, not to mention as paying customers.

"Tenants are legally allowed to live in peace, comfort and privacy in a private rental property," states the official website of the Government of South Australia.

"This means that landlords have limited rights as to when they can enter a tenanted property. This includes any gardens, shed or yard included in the lease agreement."

While respecting tenants' privacy may seem simple and straightforward, it can get complicated in some instances. This makes understanding issues related to reasonable notice and access essential.

When notice is required

In most cases, written notice to enter a property must be given to tenants in advance. Failure to do so can result in fines. However, there are times when notice is not required, such as in the case of an emergency.

You'll likely want to inspect your property from time to time to ensure it's in good condition. While inspections are definitely allowed, they can't be done more than once every four weeks and require seven to 14 days written notice.

Sometimes repairs may be necessary, and even if this is intended to help tenants,48 hours' written notice must be given and repairs must be done at a reasonable time.

If you and your tenants have agreed beforehand that rent can be picked up at the property, no written notice is required, but this can only occur once a week.

Of course, any time a tenant provides consent immediately before entry, there's nothing for you to worry about.

However, it's generally good real estate advice to give as much notice as possible.