Dear Lifehacker, What can I do about my current landlord arranging viewings for property all the time? My partner and I decided not to renew our lease and have given the landlord more than one month's notice. The landlord has since started organising viewings for anyone that wants one. I am constantly called to say she is hosting another viewing in '24 hours'. It's really starting to annoy my partner who works from home.
Is there any way I can get her to reduce the number of viewings she arranges? I have asked politely but she is more interested in making sure she finds someone else than our concerns. Thanks, Disrupted Renter
Rental picture from Shutterstock
While renters are entitled to reasonable peace, comfort and privacy in their use of the premises, agents and landlords are still authorised to enter if they want to show the property to prospective tenants. In most Australian states and territories, the property owner is required to give the tenant at least 24 hours notice. Sundays, public holidays and any time before 8am or after 6pm are usually prohibited unless permission has been granted by the tenant.
There are also rules in place about the number of showings that are allowed in a given month, but these can be pretty slippery — in NSW, for example, property viewings are limited to a 'reasonable' number of times. However, the law doesn't specify what 'reasonable' actually means.
If you feel that the frequency of property viewings is unacceptable, you can apply to the tenancy tribunal or other relevant department in your state for an order to limit the days and times on which the landlord can show the premises.
Here are some links to the relevant departments in each state, as well as the tenants' unions organisations:
- NSW: NSW Fair Trading, Tenants NSW
- Victoria: Consumer Affairs Victoria, Tenants Union Of Victoria
- Queensland: Residential Tenancies Authority, Tenants' Union Of Queensland
- WA: Department Of Commerce, Tenants Advice Service
- SA: SA.gov.au, Tenants Information And Adovacy Service
- Tasmania: Consumer Affairs And Fair Trading, Tenants' Union Of Tasmania
- NT: Consumer Affairs, Tenants' Advice Service
- ACT: ACT Government, Tenants' Union Of ACT
Obviously, the landlord isn't going to like this one bit and there's a fair chance the relationship will completely deteriorate. This could lead to repercussions when you eventually move out, such as accusations of minor property damage or demands that the premises be repeatedly re-cleaned.
In other words, you should probably only go down this path if the number of viewings is truly unbearable. Otherwise, suck it up and invest your energies in finding a new place to live instead.
Alternatively, you could try hitting back at the landlord by ensuring the place looks like a pigsty whenever prospective tenants come over. Unless there's been a deduction to your rent or some other official agreement, you're in no way obligated to keep the property's interior tidy during a viewing — so go all out with dirty dishes, worn clothes, pizza boxes and empty beer cans. Passive-aggressive revenge is often the sweetest.
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