Rights to enter a tenanted property — what exactly are they? As we all know, these rights differ depending on the circumstances involved. It is for this reason that it is best to be always aware of the provisions of the RTRA Act. Under the Act, there are a range of purposes wherein the lessor or his/her agent can enter the tenanted premises, and in most of these cases, a notice is required. The prescribed form to be used for such notice is the RTA Form 9.
Reasons for entering a tenanted property
When a tenant is renting a property, it is considered to be their home for the duration of the lease. In cases where there is a need for the lessor or agent to enter the property, it is imperative that the tenant’s privacy is respected.
Here are the allowances for entry by a lessor or agent during a tenancy with appropriate notice:
|Lawful purpose of entry||Notice||Further details|
|To inspect the property||7 days||It must be at least 3 months after the last inspection, unless otherwise agreed upon by the tenant to it being sooner.|
|To carry out maintenance and repairs||24 hours|
|For follow up inspection of repairs after they have been carried out.||24 hours||Must be carried out within 14 days of the repair being completed.|
|To show the property to a prospective buyer||24 hours||This has to be done on a ‘reasonable’ time. An RTA Form 10 must be provided to the tenant before, or when, the first Form 9 is served for this purpose. There are different rules for open houses.|
|To comply with the Fire and Emergency Services Act||24 hours|
|To show the property to a prospective tenant||24 hours||In this case, the current tenant must be given a Notice of Intention to Leave (Form 13) or a Resident leaving Form R13 for rooming accommodation, or received a Notice to leave (Form 12) or Form R12 for rooming accommodation.|
|To allow a valuation for the property||24 hours|
|If you reasonably believe that the property has been abandoned||24 hours|
|If the tenant agrees that you or your agent can enter||At the agreed time|
Can a lessor ever enter without giving a notice on a Form 9?
Yes, it is possible for a lessor to do so, but only under certain circumstances such as:
- There will be no Form 9 required and no timeframe of notice would be specified if the tenant agrees to allow an entry. In this case, there is no regard for the reason for entry as long as the tenant has agreed to let the lessor enter the property. So for instance, the lessor or his agent calls the tenant and asks permission to enter the premises in 10 minutes and the tenant agrees, this would not be considered as a breach of the RTRA Act.
- During emergencies, or in cases where entry is necessary in order to prevent further or possible damage, Form 9 will no longer be required, and the lessor/agent is allowed immediate entry. In this situation, the tenant’s consent would not be necessary. There are various unpredictable situations where this provision could be applied, including complaints from neighbours about water pouring through the ceiling and the tenants cannot be contacted, or if the lessor reasonably believes that the tenant has abandoned the property. Ultimately, regardless of the circumstances, the lessor/agent should show high regard for their own safety, as well as that of the tenant.
Other restrictions to entry
The entry only applies between 8am and 6pm on any day except on Sundays and public holidays. In contrast, if the tenant consents an entry, the lessor/agent is then allowed to enter the property outside of the said timeframes. Then again, the tenant is not obliged to agree. The same thing applies to the lessor/agent. If a tenant wants to have an inspection conducted on a Sunday, the lessor/agent is also not obliged to agree.