Our Experts Answer:
Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the Act), a landlord is required to give the tenant at least 48 hours notice (and no more than 14 days’ notice) of a property inspection. The notice is not required to be in writing and may be given verbally, but must specify the day the inspection will take place and an inspection cannot be carried out within four weeks after a previous inspection. Notice of a property inspection may be given by email as long as the tenant’s email address is listed on the tenancy agreement as an alternative address for service, or one has been provided to you by the tenant for that purpose. If you send the email to the tenant after 5pm you will need to allow an additional one working day after the date of delivery to provide for required service periods before the notice is deemed to be given or served under the Act. If you send the email before 5pm, the first day of the notice period will be the next calendar day. Once this service time has passed, the required notice of a property inspection will begin. 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 and the inspection may be carried out regardless of whether the tenant is present at the property. If the tenant is not present, the landlord may gain access to the premises with their own key. If the tenant is the only person who holds a key the landlord is unable to require that the tenant must be present for access to the premises, in this situation it may require some compromise on a suitable day for both parties. Also worth noting is that without reasonable excuse, tenants are not able to refuse the landlord entry to carry out a property inspection in accordance with the Act. For further information regarding inspections and service periods, you can visit our website (www.dbh.govt.nz), or you can speak to a member of our Tenancy Advice team by calling 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262), between 8.00am-5.30pm Monday to Friday.