Right of entry

Julian asks:
(updated on Friday, January 30th 2015)

My property is due to have earthquake repairs of gib stopping, interior repainting and replacing some blinds. This work is scheduled to start after the property has been vacated. The work is necessary to put the property in a marketable condition for the next tenant and for future sale. I wish to enter the property with two tradespeople for the purposes of job scoping and taking some measurements etc. The tenant refuses to give consent to this visit, saying it is too stressful for her to have people coming into the house while she is organising to move out. She works full-time, and will not be home when we visit (unless she chooses). Her suggested date (after she vacates) does not leave enough time to organise the required work before it is due to start. I feel she is not giving reasonable grounds for refusal. If the work is not done promptly it impacts several other parties.

Our Experts Answer:

The landlord’s right of entry is detailed in section 48 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.  There are different requirements, depending on the reason for access.  In an emergency, for example, the landlord may enter the property immediately and without notice.  However, you have said you need to carry out necessary repairs and maintenance resulting from damage incurred in an earthquake.  In this case you are covered by Section 48(2)(d), which allows the landlord to enter the premises “for the purpose of carrying out necessary repairs to or necessary maintenance of, the premises, at any time between 8 o'clock in the morning and 7 o'clock in the evening of any day, after giving to the tenant notice of the intended entry and the reason for it at least 24 hours before the intended entry”. In order to do necessary repairs you should give the tenant at least 24 hours’ notice of your intended visit, and the reason (carrying out necessary repairs). The tenant’s prior consent is not required in this instance.  Moreover, Section 48(4)(b) states that it is unlawful for a tenant to refuse access to a landlord where the landlord is permitted under subsection (2).

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