The law states that you have a right to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of your rental property. However, landlords and real estate agents do have some rights of entry, as long as they comply with the legal notice requirements.
If they serve a proper notice they can come to the premises whether or not you agree and whether you are there or not. They are supposed to only be there for the purpose in the notice and to only stay as long as is necessary but it is hard to control what happens when the landlord and agent are there particularly if you aren’t!
For example, when a property is being sold the landlord and agent will usually want to have open house inspections and have the interior photographed for a sale board or internet advertising. However, this process should not interfere with your quite enjoyment of the property and the photographs themselves should not breach your privacy. Nobody wants their personal stuff splashed all over the internet nor do you want people traipsing through your home for weeks on end.
These invasions of privacy are one of the most annoying aspects of being a tenant.
In Queensland the landlord or agent must not use a photo or image of the premises for advertising if the photo shows your belongings, unless you give your written consent. The TUV believes there should be a similar requirement in Victoria.
When a property is being sold the process will generally impinge on a tenant’s quiet enjoyment of the premises. The TUV believe there should be some framework for mandatory compensation for tenants in recognition of the inconvenience they inevitably suffer.
In general it would be better if the law required more genuine agreement between the landlord and the tenant and access by notice from the landlord was limited to emergency circumstances or access permitted by the Tribunal if the tenant was unreasonably withholding consent. The way the law currently works there is no real incentive for the landlord or agent to be reasonable and tenants are rarely compensated for the inconvenience.
Case studies about your experiences can help us to campaign for better tenancy laws and practices. We have lots of statistics based on our research and our advice work but your stories can add a strong ‘human’ voice to our evidence base. This can be very powerful when we are talking to politicians or the media about the issues that tenants face. It can also provide good examples of real problems when we are writing submissions or newsletters.
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You can tell the Government that they should introduce better privacy protections for tenants.
Right now the Victorian Government is reviewing the key renting legislation that affects your rights and responsibilities as tenants (Residential Tenancies Act 1997). This means that now is the perfect time to have your say. You can help us make a difference for all people renting in Victoria by adding your voice in support.
Send an email via the form below. You can add to our message or write your own.
Better privacy protections
To the Residential Tenancies Act review,
Tenants don’t receive enough protection form landlords and real estate agents interfering with their privacy and quiet enjoyment of their rented premises.
The law puts too much emphasis on the landlord being able to enter the premises.
I am calling on you to introduce better privacy protections for residential tenants including a greater emphasis on agreement between the parties for entry and a right to compensation or rent reduction if a landlord is selling and that will affect the tenant’s use of the premises.