Do's and don'ts of entry

24 Feb 2020

A rental property is a tenant’s home. During a tenancy, the property manager or owner may need to enter for various reasons, for example to conduct a general inspection, to carry out repairs or allow potential tenants or buyers to view the property. However, under all circumstances, it is important to respect the tenant’s privacy and ensure their consent or permission for entry has been granted in advance. Our RTA expert in this episode is Sam Galer, Manager of Customer Experience.

Rental law changes around ending tenancies, renting with pets and the introduction of repair orders commenced on 1 October 2022.


Host: Belinda Heit – Communication and Education – RTA  

Guest: Sam Galer – Customer Experience - RTA 

Host: Welcome to the Talking Tenancies podcast, brought to you by the Residential Tenancies Authority. I’m your host, Belinda Heit. Join me as we explore everything you need to know about renting in Queensland, with experts from the RTA and industry. We're here to help make renting work for everyone.    

A rental property is a tenant’s home. During a tenancy, the property manager or owner may need to enter for various reasons, for example: to conduct a general inspection; to carry out repairs; or allow potential tenants or buyers to view the property. However, under all circumstances it is important to respect the tenant’s privacy and ensure their consent or permission for entry has been granted in advance. Today our expert for the podcast is Sam Galer, Manager of Customer Experience from the RTA. Welcome Sam. 

Guest: Thank you for having me. 

Host: Now, you work in our Call Centre in our Customer Experience area, so no doubt you get a lot of calls on do’s and don'ts of entry. 

Guest: Yes, yeah, absolutely. We probably more commonly get the calls about the “don'ts” and the “why have they” and “can they do this?”.  

Host: Yes, and we're about to cover all of those in this episode. Now, gaining entry to a rental property can be a sensitive issue because a rental property is essentially a tenant’s home and their privacy and quiet enjoyment within the property should be respected. 

That said, there are times when entry is required to carry out repairs and maintenance discussed previously, or for general inspections to comply with legislative obligations and reporting requirements to the property owner as well. So, Sam, what is an entry notice

Guest: An entry notice is a really important document. It's a formal piece of communication that lets the tenant know when the managing party or a nominated tradesperson or a property manager, essentially is looking to enter the home and the reason why they're looking to enter. 

Host: OK. And there's a certain amount of notice that they need to give for different things too which we will cover as well, right? 

Guest: Yes, that's correct. So, a Form 9 is an entry notice. There's copies available on our website, and we will talk, as you said, about some of the requirements around entry. But it's all on the form and, as you mentioned, about some really important points about the difference between it being someone’s home and also someone’s property. So yeah, these are really important points to be aware of. 

Host: Now I remember when I was a tenant and I would get these notices and they’d come in the mail I would just cringe—I hated them. So, what are some of the common reasons for entering the property and how much notice is required? 

Guest: Yeah, and I don't think you're alone in your response. I don't think anyone gets an entry notice and goes, “Oh yay, the property manager is coming to look around!”. 

Host: “Hey, please come in!” 

Guest: So common reasons for entering the property would be, first of all, a general inspection. So there are some rules around general inspections and when they can happen in a tenancy, no more than every three months. But one of the, I guess one of the things that comes in with that, is that the first one can happen at any time. 

Host: Right. 

Guest: So we find we do get calls, for instance, “I've just moved into the house, everything is in boxes, I've only been here 3 days, and there's an inspection scheduled for next week.” 

Host: Oh my God. 

Guest: I think the key point to remember with these is that potentially the property manager has a range of properties in that area that they will go and do the inspections on that day. Just because you've got an entry notice within like, the first couple of weeks of the tenancy, doesn't mean that they're rushing to check up on you. And it's also a good opportunity to remind that a tenant’s obligation is to keep the property clean, not necessarily tidy—it doesn't mention tidy in the Act. And also the property manager would hopefully take that into account that you haven't actually finished unpacking yet, so it's not necessarily going to look like a display home at that point. 

Host: And it's really nothing personal. It's just, you know, obligation. I do have one question on that, though, Sam. Do property managers have to do inspections at all? 

Guest: It's a really good question and no, they're not required to under our legislation. You may look at things potentially from the owner's point of view. Obviously the owner wants to know that the property is being well looked after, well cared for, and then you may get things which are outside of our scope, but potentially insurance can become a factor for that. So it's, I guess, due diligence. There's certainly not a requirement that they must come every three months. They can negotiate or come less frequently, but they can't come more frequently. 

Host: Gotcha. So, what other reasons would they enter the property? 

Guest: Yeah, well, and with the general inspection as well they need to give seven days’ notice on that. And so that's, yeah, it's to let the other party know that it's coming. And I think when we talk about entry notices, and we talked about what is an entry notice, it's a really good method of having the other party not be surprised. 

So, there's many instances that we get where people are surprised that someone has either come through the house, or surprised by someone while they're still in the house, and these are not good experiences. 

Host: I've had that happen! 

Guest: Yeah, wow. OK (laughs). So other reasons why there may be entry required to the property, may be to carry out necessary repairs and maintenance. We're talking necessary repairs and maintenance. We do sometimes get calls about entry where it's more to do renovations, more to do sort of adding value to the property. These are situations where there would need to be a degree of negotiation, but it's not a legislated ability to come to the property to renovate, it's to do necessary repairs and maintenance. 

Host: OK. And they don't need to give any particular amount of notice for that kind of work or again it’s just negotiate? 

Guest: So they need to, yeah, for necessary repairs and maintenance, it's a 24 hour notice, but again, these are minimums. If you know that repairs need to be done or these potentially are repairs that have been requested by the tenant, having that clear communication as soon as practicable is a really good idea. 

Host: OK. So you get the entry notice. Are there any particular times that entry can take place? So, if they're like, “Oh, we wanna come Sunday morning, 6:00am, is that cool?” 

Guest: Not with me! Yeah, well, I mean, they could probably come to my place at 6:00am on the morning and it wouldn't be a really pleasant experience for anyone. There are rules. These are documented on our entry notice which you can find on our website. So a few rules: an entry must be between 8:00am and 6:00pm, Monday to Saturday. It can be outside those hours, so it could be on a Sunday or it could be a public holiday, but only if the tenant agrees. So, you know they can come at 4:00am on Christmas morning if the tenant agrees to it, but without that clear agreement, and I would suggest it's a good idea, good practice to get that agreement in writing through an email, potentially, but if you're not sure, sticking to those rules on entry. 

Host: So really, yeah, if it's outside of those standard times, make sure you got it in writing. 

Guest: Anything, that's outside of standard understandings and obligations, I would always recommend to get that in writing. 

Host: OK. So when is an entry notice not required? 

Guest: OK, so it’s not required if it’s an emergency. And we want to make sure it's a legitimate emergency, not that the agent’s decided that the grass has grown too long, for instance, and that constitutes an emergency—we're looking about that as a sort of reasonable person. Also, if the property manager or owner believes that entry is necessary to protect the property from damage that's about to happen. So I guess, for instance, if there's something that they need to do, to do with maybe an incoming storm, cyclone, something like that. If the tenant verbally agrees with the entry, so if they say “Yep sure, that's fine, feel free to come around anytime today” then an entry notice is not required. And also if it’s carrying out site maintenance, if they're in a caravan park, but that needs to be specified in the tenancy agreement

Host: Right, OK. So what if the tenant doesn't agree to entry to the property? Like if you find yourself in this scenario, what's the best course of action to take? 

Guest: Sure. So as with a lot of these issues, we tend to find that communication is the key point here and understanding rights and obligations. So, you've given the tenant an entry notice, let's say it's for a general inspection. The tenant says, “No, I don’t want you to enter”. As a property manager/owner you have the right to enter, but communication is really going to be the key. So working out what the issue is, where’s the miscommunication or the misunderstanding. Is it that, you know, for instance, the tenant says “I don't want someone to come into my home while I'm not there”, and you can understand the sentiment there.  

But, again, there are rights and obligations, and it might not always be the most comfortable situation for the tenant, so having an awareness of that can really help with making these sorts of reasons clear. If you can’t self-resolve then there are options. So, the RTA has a dispute resolution service that can try and help all parties reach an agreement, and that that would be largely letting everyone know what the obligations are and helping that communication process. 

Ultimately though, if we get to the point where we can't reach an agreement and the tenant won't allow someone to come to the property, you might need to apply to a tribunal for a for an order on entry, and that'll make things really clear. But we hope it wouldn't get to that. 

Host: So I know when I was renting a property, quite often the inspections would be done when I wasn't there. So we had an agreement that they could enter because they had a key to the property, they could just go in, do their inspection and off they go. They usually leave a note to tell me what to address. 

Guest: Yeah, and that's a good practice. Or at least, a business card is quite common that they'll just so that someone knows that they've come through the property.  

Host: So yeah, I think usually you can reach an agreement of some sort, and I know it can be inconvenient, but I think, again, communicating is super important. 

Guest: Yep, absolutely.  

Host: So how do the rules change when it comes to rooming accommodation entry

Guest: Sure, OK. Rooming accommodation, as a general rule, you’re looking at shorter time frames. We’re looking, for instance, the rooming accommodation provider is able to enter at any time if the resident agrees, and that’s similar to a general tenancy, but the resident is able to agree to the entry notice verbally, or it might be specified in the actual agreement they've got, for example, if there's regular cleaning to be carried out. But that should be specified in the agreement and made clear at the start. At all other times though, the provider has to give the resident a written notice, so on an entry notice, they may put the entry notice up in the common area if they are going to enter more than one room on the same day. 

So, if there's 6 rooms, for instance, and they're going to do inspections on all of them, then they just need to put the notice up for everyone to see. The residents are not able to refuse access if the correct notice form and the time period has been provided. So the details are on the form, so on our form, it's the R9, the only time though that the provider can enter without an entry notice, again, some similarities here, or without the resident's agreement, we're looking at: in an emergency; if they believe that the resident has abandoned, so that's that they've permanently left without letting anyone know what they're doing with their room; or if they need to do urgent repairs to the property or a facility in the property. 

Host: Right. So just to clarify as well, for those of us who don’t know the difference between normal residential properties and rooming accommodation, do you want to explain that for us? 

Guest: Yeah, sure. So, a general tenancy agreement, so that’s where we talk in our terminology is, is the tenant rents from an agent or an owner or landlord. There’s longer periods on that and they rent the whole house. With rooming accommodation, it’s probably implied in the name a little bit, but it’s to do with where you’re renting one room. There are requirements about the number of rooms that are available for rent in the property. I won’t go into that too much, but if you’re renting one room and there are other people that you possibly don’t know, or you're not sharing the whole house, then that would be more commonly rooming accommodation. 

Host: So an example of that could be a house that's split up into three little units per se. 

Guest: Yep, potentially, yeah. So, if you're renting a room, but you've got a common room with kitchen and facilities and things like that, but don't necessarily have a connection with the other people, you just rent your room and then share the other facilities, that's our rooming accommodation. 

Host: Right, OK. So, what are some of the common scenarios where entry problems cannot be resolved between the tenant and property manager? Where does it commonly go wrong? 

Guest: OK, so it commonly goes wrong, as always, when people don't understand their obligations, and again where the communication is not good. So, where we've got barriers to communication, we find that there are particularly challenges there. Some of the things that we'll hear, I suppose, and it comes down to again, not necessarily either knowing the obligations or not following.  

So, you might find we receive calls where an owner comes to the property repeatedly. So, we talked a little bit about how often general inspections can occur, we're talking about repairs and maintenance, for instance, there's a 24-hour notice. But if you get a scenario where the owner is coming to the property or they're arranging tradespeople to come to the property and they're giving 24 hours’ notice each time, but it's happening repeatedly over a fairly short period of time. We talked about, or you mentioned at the start, about the tenant's quiet enjoyment, so the quiet enjoyment relates to the tenant is to be given peace, comfort and relative privacy. 

If we're going to get to a situation where the tenant feels like there's always someone coming through the property, then you may be looking at that being as a breach of their quiet enjoyment. That's sometimes where we see some issues. 

Host: Yeah. So really, again, the root of most of these issues is communication. And understanding.  

Guest: Yeah, absolutely. Another one that comes up quite frequently is to do with open homes. So open homes, and it's not defined within the legislation as to what constitutes an open home, but generally you're looking at if, for argument’s sake, it's a Saturday morning, the property manager’s there and the property’s open for maybe an hour and anyone can sort of come in off the street or, you know, you’re getting multiple people coming through the property. We generally look at that as an open home. There are rules and requirements around that. And probably the key one on that is, to hold an open home, you need to get the tenant's express written consent. And again, making sure that that's very clear communication, but more information on our website on that. 

Host: Yeah, and open homes can be such a gray area, I think, particularly if, you know, they're putting a property up for sale. And so you’ve got to have your entry notice to let you know that that's going to happen and when, and there could be multiples of those on the one property. 

Guest: Yep, and it can get confusing to a degree as well, when you've got a different agent. You might have a selling agent that's different to your renting agent, but as a tenant your relationship is with the renting agent. Sometimes the communication between the agencies and the owners is not ideal. But knowing that these can be challenging situations, I think helps you to be prepared and to make sure that you're being really clear with your communication on that. 

Host: And I just got one more question on open homes. Can you, as the tenant, be in the house during the open home? 

Guest: Yeah, absolutely. There's not a requirement for you to go and stand outside in shame and stare at the fence. There's certainly, there's always the ability to be present. Common sense again, if there's repairs being done as aside to an open home, you're not standing there in the kitchen while they’re replacing the oven. Getting in the way maybe, but yeah, there's not a scenario with entry where the tenant is not allowed to be there. 

Host: OK, good to know. So, what if the property manager or owner can't gain entry to the property. What happens then? 

Guest: OK. If they can't gain entry to the property, so for instance if the tenant is not allowing them to enter—and we would never recommend for instance, if you've given the correct entry notice, you’ve gone to open the door and the tenant is standing there with their arms crossed saying you can't come in—don’t push past. We never, never want to get to a situation where you know there’s going to be sort of physicality involved. You can remind the other party of their obligations, you can send them the information you’ve given them in the entry notice, but maybe sending them further information, referring them through to the RTA website, making sure that they understand the requirements. But also, that if they don’t allow entry, or they are in breach of the agreement, that they can be issued with a breach notice. And it could potentially, again, result in needing to go to a tribunal and actually having an order made there which compels the other party to allow entry. But again, we would hope that you'd be able to self-resolve before it got to that. 

Host: Yeah. So in some instances, say a tenant has just left the property and not let anyone know, they can't be contacted for entry, and there's just radio silence. What can the property manager do? 

Guest: Yeah, so there is the ability, and it comes down to when they reasonably believe that the premises has been abandoned—and that's again, that's probably a separate topic—but some of the things that they’d be looking for would be attending the property, you might be talking to the neighbors, “Have you seen these guys?”, you know the neighbors says “Oh yeah, there were was a big moving truck there a week ago we haven’t seen him since.” Property seems to be empty. Do they owe rent? Have they given any sort of communication? Is there a buildup of mail potentially at property? There is the ability to issue an entry notice to determine whether the premises has been abandoned, and I guess that depends on the property and what you can maybe see from the outside. But all of that information's on our website and on our abandonment termination notices that can then progress through. When in doubt, again, we're looking at tribunals. 

Host: And I've got one last question for you Sam. If a property or a tenant is getting entry from a property manager or owner without the due notice and forms, and it's happening a lot, they don't really need to contact the police unless they're being harmed, right? 

Guest: No. So it's often a situation where they will try and I guess look for what action can they take to stop this happening. We totally, we totally understand that. Obviously, I'm not going to say don't ever call any sort of emergency services—if you need to call them then go right ahead. But there are things that you can do within the legislation, within your control as a tenant, and they can be things like: issuing a breach notice to the other party, informing them that they're actually in breach of the agreement for interfering with your peace, comfort and relative privacy—so that quiet enjoyment that we talked about; and the tenant is able to also apply to a tribunal. We talked a little bit in this discussion about if the owner can't gain entry, but if the tenant feels that the other party is not following the rules of entry, they can apply to a tribunal as well.  

Host: Yeah. So there's really a lot of rights and responsibilities on both sides, and I think that's really important when it comes to the do’s and don'ts of entry. 

Guest: Yep.  

Host: Thank you so much for your assistance today, Sam.  

Guest: My pleasure.  

Host: And if you want more information, head to our website Thank you for listening to the Talking Tenancies podcast. For more information about the Residential Tenancies Authority, visit

Original publication on 24 Feb 2020
Last updated on 01 Nov 2022

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