It is an important characteristic of tenancy that the tenant has possession of the premises, just as though they were the owner. This normally means that the tenant can stop anyone from entering the property - including the landlord, the agent and any of their employees. For example, the landlord, or the landlord's family, cannot come on to the property to tend a garden or to pick fruit without the tenant's consent and they certainly cannot insist on inspecting the premises at a moment's notice.
Under section 72 of the Residential Tenancies Act 1995 (SA) , the landlord or the landlord's agent has the right to enter the premises in the following circumstances only.
In the case of an emergency [s 72(1)(a)]
A landlord may enter any time and without giving notice. However, in such cases the landlord must be able to establish that his/her actions were justified, equitable and lawful. Generally, only danger to the property or to a person in the vicinity will satisfy the definition of an emergency.
To inspect the premises [s 71(1)(c)]
No more than once every four weeks – after giving at least seven days (but not more than 14 days) written notice before the date of entry. A period of up to 2 hours within which the proposed entry is to occur (which must be within normal hours*) must be specified in the notice.
To collect rent [s 72(1)(b)]
Not more than once a week and only at a time previously arranged with the tenant. This right exists only if the tenant has been offered a reasonable alternative method of payment of rent that does not involve attendance by the landlord but the tenant has refused the alternative.
To carry out non-emergency repairs or necessary maintenance [s 71(1)(e)]
At a time within normal hours* after having given the tenant at least 48 hours notice. The requirement for 48 hours may be waived by the tenant at their own request (i.e. not under direction by the landlord).
To carry out garden maintenance [s 72(1)(d)]
- at a time previously arranged with the tenant no more than seven days before the proposed entry; or
- in accordance with a written notice given to the tenant no less than seven days and no more than 14 days before the proposed day of entry; or
- alternatively, at another time at the tenant’s own request (i.e. not as intitated by the landlord).
To show premises to prospective tenants [s 72(1)(f)]
During the period of 28 days before the end of the existing tenancy agreement and only after giving reasonable notice for a reasonable number of occasions at times occurring within normal hours*. The tenant may request attendance before the 28 day period commences if they choose (i.e. not as initiated by the landlord).
To show premises to prospective purchasers [s 71(1)(g)
On no more than two occasions in any seven day period (unless the tenant agrees otherwise) but only at a time previously arranged with the agreement of the tenant (who must not reasonably refuse to agree) or, if no agreement can be reached, at a time within normal hours* once the tenant has been given reasonable notice.
To determine if a breach of section 80 (breach of agreement) has been remedied [s 72(1)(h)]
Only in accordance with a written notice in the prescribed form (see Form 1A in Schedule 1 of the Residential Tenancies Regulations 2010 (SA)) given to the tenant no less than seven days and no more than 14 days before the proposed day of entry. The notice must state the proposed date and time of entry and this must be within normal hours*.
For any other genuine purpose [s 72(1)(i)]
In accordance with written notice given no less than seven days and no more than 14 days before the proposed date of entry stating the purpose of the proposed entry and date and time (which must be within normal hours*); otherwise, with the consent of the tenant.
* Normal hoursis defined as between 8am and 8pm on any day other than a Sunday or a public holiday.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.