Ask LH: Can My Landlord Ask That I’m Not At Home For Inspections?

Dear Lifehacker, My new landlord has made some odd requests that don’t really sound right, like wanting me to be out during inspections. My question is, is the owner of a property you are renting allowed to ask that you are not at home during an inspection? Thanks, Linda

Dear Linda,

That does sound a bit odd, as your landlord shouldn’t have any reason to be in your home without you. Luckily, you have rights as a tenant, the main one being the right to ‘reasonable peace, comfort and privacy’ in the house you are renting. This means that landlords have to abide by a number number of fairly strict rules if they want to visit the premises.

The rules are different in each state, so it’s worth checking your state’s tenancy act or tenant’s union. Generally, your landlord can only enter your home for certain reasons, such as quarterly or biannual inspections, and must either get your permission or give you due notice before entering. Landlords aren’t allowed to organise inspections on public holidays or any time between 8pm and 8am unless the tenant gives permission.

While a tenant doesn’t have to be at home for an inspection, it is generally highly recommended by most relevant bodies. Tenants are also allowed to reschedule in order to choose a time that better suits them to be home. As Tenants NSW describes, problems can arise when tenants aren’t home for inspections:

If you cannot be there, try to arrange for someone to be there on your behalf. People entering the premises when you are not there may be a problem for your insurance. Ask your insurance company about this.

While it’s highly likely that your landlord asking or requiring you to be absent for inspections is some dodgy dealing, the situation is not explicitly mentioned. Your best bet if you think your landlord is breaching your tenancy agreement is to reach out to your local tenants advice and advocacy group. Tenant Help has a good state-by-state list of groups to get you started. Good luck!


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