Outgoing Tenant Refusing Inspection for Potential Tenant

Today was the first inspection session for my apartment. I decided to drop by to see the apartment and say hi to the new agents (previous one left the company).

When I arrived, agent told me that the outgoing tenant is refusing to allow anyone to enter the apartment although previously has agreed to do so.

The tenant is now ignoring phone call and emails to arrange for private and scheduled inspections.

Worst case scenario is to wait for them to move out before inspection starts but is there anything I can do to proceed with next Saturday's scheduled inspection?

Comments

  • -3 votes

    tell them their bond is gone

    • +25 votes

      Illegal

      • +12 votes

        So is not adhering to their lease agreement.

        • -8 votes

          These types of inspections are not included in lease agreements. This isn't an inspection to make sure the place is being kept to a reasonable standard, it's simply just a request to advertise and view the property to a third party to try and sell it. This sort of thing has to be negotiated in advance between all parties. If nothing can be agreed upon, then you have to head into a tenancies tribunal/equivalent and seek an order for an inspection date. If they grant it, THEN the owner can have their agent use the keys to gain access and show someone else the place.

          The issue you usually run into though and why owners don't often get an order like that granted, is that contractually it is an interference of the leaseholders right to peace and privacy - something that is actually a binding right of any lease agreement for the leaseholder.

        • +38 votes

          @infinite:

          These types of inspections are included in lease agreements, as they are part of the residential tenancies acts for the respective states. People are free to research this for confirmation rather than be told by infinite what is and isn't part of a residential lease agreement.

          People are so quick to upvote a user who doesn't give any information to back up his statements when there are people who give concrete evidence against his claims, with the legal precedent.

          Further down the page infinite even gives links to evidence against his claims, because he didn't read the link well enough.

        • +7 votes

          @c0balt: Excellent post and point. Blows my mind someone making an incorrect point gets 13+ votes and yet when someone (you) states truth it's given silence….that said often it'll be neg'd - which is completely NOT how the votes for comments is meant to work but for whatever reason folks ignore that.

          You're 100% correct it's always been a standard clause in the standard NSW rental agreement - so unless the tenant and agent signed off on having this removed (which I'd say is all but impossible) as the agent & owner would want to ensure prospective new tenants can view - it'd be there.

          There are rules in the lease regarding number of visits, times, notice etc - so failing to comply would breach lease. Unsure of any real penalties but this is a well documented area if the lease was set up correctly.

        • +7 votes

          @c0balt: c0balt and Nikko I think people agreed with it so much because it's just the right thing to do. Moving is a really stressful time, it's on those lists psychologists give out of the most stressful events you'll experience in your life. Plus everything is everywhere while you're likely sorting thought it, and the place is generally not kept as normal because you're waiting to do that at the end. To have people you don't know come into your space when everything is such a mess, it's kind of embarrassing. It's just a human thing.

        • +4 votes

          @YellowHouse: I agree. Been in this situation a few years ago, and security is another issue. Quite often your personal belongings are spread from one end of the house to the other and it would be impossible to keep a close eye on all the prospective tenants coming through the property to make sure nothing is stolen. We politely raised this issue with our agent and they just assured us that they would watch everyone carefully. It didn't provide us with much comfort. :)

        • +1 vote

          @c0balt: Some legal information to back up this claim in VIC is section 86 of the RTA (link here: http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/vic/cons...).

          The Act only allows entry to show the property to a "prospective tenant" (or "prospective buyer" for selling). Note there is no plural there - it isn't "tenants" or "buyers".

          The practice is that tenants suck it up and allow the open for inspections but they don't have to. They can go to VCAT for a restraining order or try and arrange compensation directly with the landlord.

          If you like reading VCAT cases there is a short one on point here (for buying but I'd say the argument is the same for rental inspections): http://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/vic/VCAT...

          Can't comment on other states/territories.

        • -1 vote

          @Jimmytshirt: What if you have a prospective tenant coming for an inspection, and at the same time another prospective tenant ? ( please note the absence of plural ( 's' ), then you have - oh what a surprise - prospective tenants ( plural ).

        • +2 votes

          @cameldownunder: Sure, but you don't have an open for inspection - ie: no general public.

          In VIC this is a right that landlords think they have but which isn't supported by the Act.

          If an agent did what you are suggesting they do to a tenant in VIC then I'd suggest the tenant get legal advice.

        •  

          @Nikko: I agree it’s also common in standard REIWA contracts used in WA.

          Actually I feel REIWA is skewed against the renter. I remember someone wanting to sell the property I was renting and having a constant stream of strangers every weekend and little room for refusal for a few months on end. It became extremely irritating.

        • +3 votes

          @Nikko:

          From NSW Residential Tenancies Act

          https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/2010/42/part3/...

          (2) A landlord, the landlord’s agent or any other person authorised by the landlord may enter residential premises during a residential tenancy agreement without the consent of the tenant, after giving notice to the tenant, only in the following circumstances:
          ……
          (e) to show the premises to prospective tenants, a reasonable number of times during the period of 14 days preceding the termination of the agreement, if the tenant is given reasonable notice each time,

        •  

          @c0balt: Actually, Infinite was correct in most of what they said, and for the most part, you're both saying the same thing. Bear in mind the tenancy agreement has slight variations from state to state.

          "This sort of thing has to be negotiated in advance between all parties"
          "These types of inspections are included in lease agreements"

          Both of you are correct. The rental agreement is actually a legal negotiation, even though it may not feel like it at the time.
          (For QLD) The landlord/agency has to give you a weeks notice for being on the property except for viewings where 24hours is the accepted timeframe.
          As a tenant, you agree to provide access when requested, and to speed things along, it's accepted that no response is a tacit agreement.

          Here are the parts everyone seems to miss.
          There has to be a 'reasonable period' between viewings. (It has been deliberately left open to interpretation to avoid either parties using set timeframes to their advantage).
          And secondly, just because notice has been given, does not mean the tenant has to accept the date given. They can request the viewing to be at another time and it still be considered reasonable.

          The other point that is often forgotten, is that a rental agency can ask you to renew the lease up to two months in advance of the lease expiring. If you do not respond, they take that as a indication that you're not renewing, and thus start arranging viewings. This can be seen by the tenant as a harassing technique to get them to re-sign/move out, and can start escalating tensions between the two parties.
          The OP hasn't said when the apartment is going to be vacated, so for all we know, the tenants may be there until July.

          There's no guarantee they are actually moving out, and the OP should realise their request to view a potential property for them, does not outweigh the tenants right to privacy and peaceful living in their home.

        •  

          @psy: This. As a landlord and a tenant myself, I've been on both sides and yes this is the case. Anything beyond the 14 days, will be a good test of the relationship between agent and tenant (or indirectly by extension, landlord and tenant).

          My landlord was great with me before so I was willing to try and accommodate his requests as I knew I was vacating during a time where it can be difficult to lease the property (Christmas)… but the agent (who also happened to manage my investment property) informed me this was not a legal requirement and it was up to me. Fortunately when I moved out, there was some minor damage to a blind (discolouration from something) and they were willing to significantly reduce the replacement/repair cost out of goodwill (since there was no gap in rental occupancy too).

          I have heard that in some instances though, where tenants don't play ball or there is fear that they will ruin the place, the landlord can sometimes give a discount/subsidy or reimburse cleaning costs/etc (eg right after the inspection or during the move-out) which can help make it smoother for everyone.

        • +1 vote

          @jace88:

          It astounds me that the OPs real estate agent cannot advise him of what is legislated in their particular state.

        • +2 votes

          @psy: That would be because Realestate agents who manage rental properties are sales people and nothing more. They have no formal education, training or legal experience. They require no training or education to do the job, nor are they professionals who need registration of any kind. It's why when the shit ever hit's the fan, they simply refer to the owner of a property to a real professional or registered conveyancer/lawyer. They'll happily take a cut of your rent for doing nothing in the mean time though!!!

      • -1 vote

        illegal to do, but not illegal to threaten to do.

        • +7 votes

          Threatening to do it is considered interference of the leaseholders right to peace and privacy - something that is actually a binding right of any lease agreement for the leaseholder. The person renting the property could easily turn around and seek to end the contract immediately, while also claiming total costs for moving to a new property & temporary accommodation costs in the mean time, due to said threats from the owner. That would be a pretty costly mistake.

    • +3 votes

      I wouldn't do that if i were you.. 1st its a hollow threat everyone knows that and 2nd if someone told me my bond was gone before i even left.. what do you think will happen to your property?

      As the landlord you cannot do squat to while you watch your property being destroyed. Of course you can then send the now pennyless tenant a letter of demand due to the damage etc… good luck.

  • +9 votes

    Don't think there is much you can do unfortunately.

    Pretty sure the law is in the tenants favour. Fair enough if you think about it as it is an absolute pain in the butt having open houses. Your best bet is to try to negotiate but if they're ignoring your calls you are better off waiting until they are out,

  • +9 votes

    Give and take. What are you willing to offer them for the trouble of open home?

    • +7 votes

      In WA the residential tennacy's act requires that outgoing tennants allow the property to be open for inspection.

      • +4 votes

        Actually the the Act provides that the tenant has to allow for one, once the owner/agent has requested one at a reasonable time, giving at least 7 and not more than 14 days written notice. OP has not confirmed yet that he's followed that stipulation. If they can't get that sorted to their satisfaction, they'll then need to head to the tenancies tribunal/equivalent to seek an appropriate order.

  • +12 votes

    Are you sure they are leaving? It seems the action of a person not intending to go anywhere.

    •  

      They would have re-signed the lease by now.

      •  

        Kinda sounds like signing a lease doesn’t mean jack to the tenant…
        Wouldn’t it say that they need to allow for inspections?

        • -1 vote

          Of course. Anyone who has signed a residential lease agreement would know this.

          It went through a rental agency too, so there's close to 0% chance that it wouldn't have been included in the lease unless the agency uses a chimpanzee for their drafting/conveyancing.

          Even if it wasn't included in the lease, it can be part of common law. In Victoria if the landlord gives 24 hours notice, they can enter the property within the last 2 weeks of the lease without consent to show the place to prospective tenants/buyers.
          https://flatmates.com.au/info/vic-landlord-entry-rights

    •  

      They have informed my agent that they want to end the lease

  • +7 votes

    This was the first inspection session??
    How many “sessions” are scheduled?
    Did the new agent ask the tenant or TELL them when the inspections would be? I’ve known some very arrogant agents.
    The tenant is quite within their rights to refuse. Maybe when they initially agreed, they weren’t aware they could refuse.

    •  

      Agent tried to arrange private inspection didn't happen for reasons that I don't know.

      This was the first agreed inspection so the tenant knew the time.

  • -2 votes

    wouldn't it be more ammo for you to keep their bond if it was left dirty,,as they arent at the inspection to defend anything.

  • +8 votes

    Send them something via registered mail - the law only says the owner/agent needs to give 24 hours notice to inspect, not get approval. My agent would call us, email us, and put a letter in the post with at least a couple weeks notice for scheduled inspections. It's reasonable that should be shorter given the tenants are leaving.

    That being said, pissing off the tenant may not be worth the hassle. (A lot of this depends on if you asked them to leave and they're bitter, if there have been 20 requests for inspections while they're leaving, if they're hoarders and are embarrassed, etc.)

    VIC rules are here: https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/housing/renting/during-a-lea...

    Even if you are within the law, have left email/text/voicemails, knocked on the door etc - it might be risky to show up with potential new tenants (e.g. old tenants behave badly, leave messes, etc.) so maybe if you're going ahead, plan for the worst and hope for the best?

    • +23 votes

      OP is talking about an 'open house' inspection where potential tenants inspect the place, not just the landlord checking it out to make sure everything's okay. You shouldn't be able to force a tenant to allow random people to explore the house they are renting, and if you can that's pretty (profanity).

      • +5 votes

        Forced? It's part of the agreement a tenant signs when they agree to the rental contract.

        Not only that, it's completely reasonable if you plan on leaving a rented property (as is the case with the OP) to allow the landlord time to find a new tenant to move in, which is why it's a clause in the state's tenants advocacy boards.

        Example NSW (OPs State):
        https://www.tenants.org.au/factsheet-08-access-and-privacy

        •  

          What they are saying is that tenants have the right to refuse open inspections (correct).

        • +5 votes

          @Gnosh: You can refuse, but for inspections, the Landlord can still gain access. Read the section "Entry without consent, with notice":

          "The landlord/agent, or another person authorised by the landlord, can enter the premises without your consent for certain purposes."

          And one of the purposes is "To show the premises to prospective tenants"

        • -1 vote

          @Tr0jan: Yeah but you need to provide reasonable notice of that (in writing) and OP has yet to confirm if he or his agent have done that yet.

        • +4 votes

          @infinite: Nope. Check the Entry Without Consent table. Written notice is only required for inspections.

          Showing the premises to prospective tenants simply requires "reasonable" notice. Which means you can't just turn up 30 minutes before. Given the OP has mentioned that this was an agreed inspection, the tenant had reasonable notice.

          It seems a lot of people on this thread really don't understand the legalities around renting

        • -1 vote

          @Tr0jan: "Reasonable Notice" is considered notice in writing, when it comes to any matter before a tribunal.

          Otherwise you could just yell out a verbal notice over the fence and then go in.

        •  

          @infinite: A reasonable notice is open to interpretation by the tribunal however it would definitely include text messages, emails (both of which are in writing with the recorded time) or documented evidence of calls/verbal notices (even attempted ones).

        •  

          @infinite: Are you just trolling now, or have you simply not bothered to read the Tenants NSW link given above?

          It explicitly states:

          "Except as noted in the table, notice does not have to be in writing."

          The only item noted in the table that must be in writing is regular inspections. Ergo, showing prospective tenants around the property does NOT require notice in writing.

        • -1 vote

          @Tr0jan: Unfortunately you clearly don't understand what you are reading, or the context in which it's applied in.

        • +1 vote

          @infinite: So, trolling then. Doesn't get much clearer. You don't have to give notice in writing. E-mails, texts, phonecalls, in person, all are counted.

          If you disagree, care to point out what part I don't understand or where the context will make it differ?

      • +3 votes

        I don't like it when I have to allow this either, and the agents try to discourage you from being present. But it's part of every rental agreement so we have to comply.

        The worst part was when a potential tenant opened the top draw of a chest of draws (my own furniture, not part of the property).

  • +3 votes

    I agree with others, if you aren’t providing an incentive why would they cooperate? It is disruptive and they run a risk that stuff goes missing or someone cases out the place to burgle or worse. Find out what would get them to cooperate, e.g. Offer them a discount on rental, a cleaner etc. what you don’t want is them allowing inspections and leaving an unpleasant mess everywhere.

    • +6 votes

      Because it's the law.

      "If the landlord/agent gives you the proper notice (if applicable) and they have a valid purpose, you must allow them to enter. This applies whether or not you are at the premises at the time (see below)."

      From Tenants NSW:
      https://www.tenants.org.au/factsheet-08-access-and-privacy

      The only reason OP would have to incentivise them with 'free cleaning' would be if it was him, and not them, who are breaking the lease contract.

      • +3 votes

        There is no indication in the OPs post that a lease is being broken. If this is the end of the lease then there is no incentive for the renter to make an effort to show the place to its best advantage. Giving a little to get a little is the best way forward.

        •  

          If this is the end of the lease then there is no incentive for the renter to make an effort to show the place to its best advantage

          Well if he wants a good reference?

          I guess he might have already secured a new place.

        • +1 vote

          @Quantumcat: he/she may have also purchased their own place. Reference is only a threat if they need to secure new rental accomodation.

          We were always as helpful as we could be to our landlords but we don’t know the tenants side here - something may have happened to make them change their mind. Talking is always the best starting point.

        • -1 vote

          OP posted this was the case, that the tenants decided not to renew the lease at the end of their term.

          If you don't allow the landlord to provide a reasonable amount of inspections to prospective tenants within a reasonable time before you leave the property, then you are breaking the lease. It's that simple.

        • -1 vote

          @c0balt: The tenants haven't broken any part of the leas eyet, from what OP has advised. OP or his agent needs to provide reasonable written notice for their inspection to take place, something they don't appear to have done yet.

        • -1 vote

          @infinite:

          Bull. OP has written that the current tenant has refused the reasonable request for them to show the property to prospective tenants before OP made this post.

          Considering they plan on vacating the property soon also, it's well within the reasonable timeframe for them to do so.

          As I have wrote time time and time again with actual NSW Tenants board information, the landlord doesn't even need consent from the tenant do conduct the inspection if the request was given reasonable time (within 14 days of vacating a property, 24 hours is very reasonable).

      • -2 votes

        "Landlord/agent". Not random people looking to check the place out.

        • +1 vote

          I see you missed the "To show the premises to prospective tenants" part. Not a smart thing to miss if you are going to make a comment about the legality of it. You wouldn't make a good lawyer!

          Prospective tenants are not random people. Not only that but the landlord doesn't need consent from the current tenants to enter their property if they are within 2 weeks of ending the lease and they give 24 hours notice to the current tenants provided it's at a reasonable time of the day.

        • -1 vote

          @c0balt: Incorrect, as per the NSW Tenancies (https://www.tenants.org.au/factsheet-08-access-and-privacy) to show the premises to prospective tenants, you need to provide reasonable notice. Reasonable notice is notice in writing at an absolute minimum and has has to be for a reasonable time for the tenant, too. The tenants than at that point don't have to accept that time & they can simply take the matter to the Tribunal to delay or make the time/date to their liking.

        •  

          @infinite:

          Mate, that's the link I keep giving people like yourself and people like yourself have an impossible time grasping the information in it.

          What is it about the part "The land lord can enter the premise without consent" that you guys keep being blind to?

          Given that link, if you read it, OP/agents on OPs direction can show up to his own place and conduct the inspection without the currents tenants consent given the information given to us (that the tenant plans on leaving the place very soon, and has refused the request for agents to show prospective future tenants the property).

          It's that simple. There's no tribunal at this state in the lease with 0 protections for the current tenant.

        • -1 vote

          @c0balt: Clearly you have failed to read the entire text and understand it.

        •  

          @infinite: You clearly have failed to read and understand it!

          The owner/agent can enter the premise WITHOUT CONSENT to show the premises to prospective tenants AS LONG AS reasonable notice is given within the last 14 days of the lease.

          Giving reasonable notice does not require the tenant to give permission at all. (This is the part you fail to comprehend)

        •  

          @kingmw: Yes it does, actually. The tenant is well within their rights to deny the date/time put to them in the notice and negotiate to have it at a different time. Hence REASONABLE notice. If the agent/owner takes issue with that, they then have to go to the tribunal for further mediation or an order to be set. If the agent/owner were to simply issue a notice without the tenant having the ability to reply (or receive it), the agent/owner would be in breach of the lease and face financial consequences, such as costs awarded to the tenant for leaving to find a property elsewhere, where their contractual and consumer rights would not be trampled on.

        •  

          @infinite: Well the current tenant hasn't disagreed with the date/time (no written proof as you say!) so the agent is allowed to show the tenants. No answering calls or emails does not mean that the current tenant disagrees with it, just that they can't be bothered to reply.

        •  

          @kingmw: OP never provided reasonable notice, unfortunately. According ot hiw own comments, all they did was have the agent attempt a few phone calls, of which none went through. The tenant could have a new phone number for all we know and have no clue about any of this.

  •  

    Sounds like they are hiding something. You could have a big surprise waiting for you. Been there!

    •  

      That didn't come across my mind as the condition inspection was satisfactory

      • +2 votes

        You can install a meth lab pretty quickly.

      • +3 votes

        My condition report always came back satisfactory from the REA, then when we got the house back the garden was a jungle, holes in doors/walls, house reeked of marijuana, nasty carpets. But thank goodness that was the worse of it. Lesson learnt: always go to the 6 months routine inspection if you can.

  • +7 votes

    I went to an open house yesterday for a property that was to be available early June. The current tenants are still living there. They did not appear to be in the process of packing up and they had all of their property/valuables out on display. There was well over a dozen people walking through when we were there and the agent didn't even bother taking names or checking ID. Anyone could have taken anything and noone would have known who did it. So not so great for the tenant.

    On the other side too the place was an absolute mess. It was filthy. The tenants had not made any attempt to clean anything - in fact it looked like the place hadn't been cleaned in a very long time. Things were broken and screens were ripped. My husband and I were discussing this afterwards and surely it would be better for the landlord to wait until the current tenant had moved out and cleaned. As potential tenants you would have no idea what kind of condition the property would be in.

    • +2 votes

      Such is the life of a renter though, it's even in the contract they signed for the lease. They are welcome to extend their lease or keep the place tidy with valuables stored when it's time for open inspections.

      If it's in a high demand area then for every 1 person who looks at a place thinking the current renters are too messy, there's 9 thinking how they would furnish the place once they move in.

      •  

        There is a difference between natural messy and deliberate tenant messy; there are a lot of ways the tenant could make the place less attractive without falling foul of the lease contract. Yes, there may be lots of people looking at a property but you want to attract the person who will be the least trouble.

      • +1 vote

        It's a very high demand area. They won't have any problem renting the place out - even without doing any repairs or cleaning the place properly. We are just glad we aren't desperate for a place yet as we are just looking to upsize from our current rental and aren't in a huge hurry to move out.

        One thing I've noticed is how a hell of alot of listings use very old photos. This particular property had photos from 9 years ago when the house was for sale. The reality was very different. Another I was looking at on the weekend had 10 year old photos.

    •  

      Probably a strategy to make sure the place doesn't sell! haha

    •  

      The tenants had not made any attempt to clean anything

      My house would probably give you that impression after I've spent 3 hours tidying up ;)

      Such is this life of a couple with kids who work really long hours with random unpaid overtime.

      •  

        I'm no clean-freak. People would probably say my house is messy (we have a lot of stuff and no space).

        This one was next level filthy.

  • +1 vote

    Take your spare keys with and use at next agreed inspection date if tenant is not answering door or phone.

  • +6 votes

    What did the Real Estate Agent, who you are paying for professional service, advise?

  • +2 votes

    There's State laws covering this specific situation. Check the NSW Residential Tenancy Act. The lease should contain any specifics as prescribed under the Act, but that doesn't stop a large proportion of agents trying it on.

    Edit, ugh selling is different here you go. A ‘reasonable’ number of times in the 14 days before the tenancy agreement ends.
    A shittily, rubbery law.

    • -3 votes

      Yes it is a useless clause. Should have a clause to say that the outgoing tenant will be responsible for any loss of rent as a result of not allowing inspections.

      • +1 vote

        The definition here is around lreasonable. It is like ACCC guidelines, enough room to drive a truck through it. So what is considered reasonable? Once a week at a convenient time for the tenant? I would say, “sure you can show it twice a week on Tuesday and Friday morning at 3am”. Twice a week is pretty reasonable to me.

      • +5 votes

        Yeah, the law needs to protect the poor downtrodden landlords more and allow them more leeway to have random people walking around the tenants' house.

      • +6 votes

        Landlords should have to wait for a person to move out before any open inspections

    •  

      Thanks for this

    • +1 vote

      oh good, they have been ignoring your call and text? then get it there with a spare key and says that you think the place have been abandoned :)

      "if the landlord thinks that the premises have been abandoned"

  • +8 votes

    This is what you pay your agent to do.
    Bit silly asking us when you have a professional employed on the job.
    Your other avenue is the dept of fair trading.
    But by the time they issue any orders the tenant will be out.

  • +3 votes

    it depends on how many inspection sessions you have had.
    Had a real estate agent arrange over 10 separate inspection dates (some as early as 7:30am - so the potential new tenant could look before work on a Sunday morning) in the last 3 weeks of the lease, makes it hard to start packing when they request you not have 'boxes and suitcases all over the place" after a while I was over it.

  • +7 votes

    Many years ago when we were renting, our agent turned up for an open house inspection with a huge crowd of people without any warning to us whatsoever. It was about 6pm and we were just sorting out dinner and showering after work etc. My husband refused to allow them in. Could it be that the agent forgot to advise the tenant that it was happening but didn’t want to admit it? We were fine with all other inspections as the agent learnt their lesson and always advised us in advance after that.

  • +6 votes

    I understand time is money. But I would honestly rather take the hit of a couple weeks missed rent than make my tenants have an open house inspection for the public. I know I wouldn't want a bunch of randoms trudging through my place having a sticky at everything, and so wouldn't want to force it on others. Besides, it does make a better impression showing a clean empty place.

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