Ensuring the health and safety of tenants, property owners and managers is a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s important all parties:
- follow public health directives and advice
- communicate openly
- understand each other’s circumstances
- develop an acceptable solution
- document any decisions made.
If an agreement can't be reached you can request free dispute resolution with the RTA.
Do the rules of entry change during a COVID-19 lockdown?
Since 30 April 2021, the normal rules for entry to a property have applied. This means that tenants cannot refuse entry to their home for non-essential reasons such as routine inspections.
However, during a COVID-19 lockdown, when the Chief Health Officer’s directions advise that movement should be limited (along with other specified restrictions during the lockdown period), tenants, property managers/owners are encouraged to work together to delay any non-essential entry and only permit essential entry to occur (for example, to attend to emergency repairs and maintenance). If work can be delayed, you should delay it until after lockdown.
If a tenant is concerned about a member of the household with a higher risk profile being exposed to COVID-19, they should discuss these concerns with the property manager/owner.
It is important that all parties communicate openly and respectfully. Remember, any entry into rental properties must be in line with public health directions and advice.
If you are in a lockdown area, the current direction states that there is no limit on the number of workers that can come to your home to attend to an emergency repair. However, everyone should wear face masks and maintain physical distancing wherever possible. It is important that parties keep up to date on the current direction to stay abreast of any changes.
Emergency repairs are outlined in the Act and include:
- a burst water service or a serious water service leak
- a blocked or broken lavatory system or fittings
- a serious roof leak
- a gas leak
- a dangerous electrical fault
- flooding or serious flood damage
- serious storm, fire or impact damage
- a failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply to the premises
- a failure or breakdown of an essential service or appliance on premises for hot water, cooking or heating
- a fault or damage that makes premises unsafe or unsecure
- a fault or damage likely to injure a person, damage property or unduly inconvenience a tenant of premises, or
- a serious fault in any staircase, lift or other common area which inhibits or unduly inconveniences residents in gaining access to or using the premises.
Non-emergency repairs should be delayed wherever possible during a COVID-19 lockdown.
During a lockdown, open house inspections to the public cannot occur. However, under the current direction private inspections can occur but should be delayed until after lockdown when not essential. Virtual inspections (e.g. videos or photos) are not a requirement under the legislation but they are a tool that can be considered by all parties.