No inspection notice given!

Question from Christa updated on 8th December 2012:

We are currently renting through a property management company. I have just received a letter saying that someone from the company entered the home for a routine inspection without my knowledge. We have been renting since 2011. This is a new property, a new property manager and the first inspection. We did not receive any prior notice via any method of contact to let us know about the inspection date and my house was very messy! Nor did they leave any notice detailing that they had been there. I know they have to give notice of inspection and they stipulate in my rental agreement 16 days notice. What can I do?

Our expert Alan Bruce responded:

Under the Residential Tenancies Act, a landlord is required to give the tenant at least 48 hours notice (and no more than 14 days notice) of an intended property inspection. The notice must specify the day the inspection will take place and the inspection cannot be carried out within four weeks of a previous inspection. Where sufficient notice has been provided, the landlord may enter the premises to carry out a property inspection any time between 8am and 7pm on the day specified in the notice. Where a landlord does not provide sufficient notice to inspect the property, the tenant should discuss the matter with the landlord in the first instance to try and resolve the issue, reminding the landlord of their obligations in respect of entry for the purpose of a property inspection (it is also recommended that this is followed up in writing, with a copy retained). If this does not resolve the matter, either party may apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to resolve the situation. To discuss your situation further, or for information on property inspections or applying to the Tenancy Tribunal, you can visit the Building and Housing Groups website (www.dbh.govt.nz), or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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