Reinspections and “failed inspections”

Do I have to allow a follow-up inspection if I failed a routine inspection?  Can I be evicted if I fail an inspection?

You can’t fail an inspection

There is no sense in which a tenant can ‘fail’ an inspection, because an inspection isn’t a test. The purpose of a routine inspection is to assess whether or not the tenant is complying with their obligations under clause 63 of the Standard Residential Tenancy Terms:

During the tenancy, the tenant must:
… c) take reasonable care of the premises and their contents, and keep them reasonably clean, having regard to their condition at the time of commencement of the tenancy and the normal incidents of living.

After doing an inspection, a lessor or real estate agent might think that you are in breach of clause 63. If they do, they can serve a Notice to Remedy (NTR) that outlines the claimed breach and allows 14 days to remedy.

If you do not agree that you are in breach and that you have taken reasonable care of the premises you can respond to the  NTR in writing (email is fine, keep a copy) to say that there is no basis for their notice and that it must be removed from your file.

If, at the end of the 14 days they feel that you have not remedied the breach, then they could serve a Notice to Vacate.  You can respond in writing disputing the validity of the notice and noting that there is no basis to terminate the agreement. If you do not vacate they must follow the process for terminating a tenancy agreement.  This is the proper sequence of events prescribed by law, see our factsheet, Eviction in the ACT

Two inspections per year only

Under clause 77, a lessor or their agent may do two routine inspections in each period of 12 months following the commencement of the tenancy. The agreement does not provide a mechanism for a lessor or their agent to get any extra routine inspections, whatever the circumstances. So they could only do a ‘follow-up’ inspection if the initial inspection was the first in that period of 12 months. Doing a follow-up would then mean no more inspections until the next 12 month period starts.

Having said that, whilst there is no provision for extra routine inspections, the lessor could apply to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) for an access order (cl 75). If the lessor could establish reasonable evidence of a serious breach, that a notice to remedy has been served, and that further access is required in order to determine whether the breach has been remedied (and thus whether or not the lessor needs to take further action) it is possible that the ACAT would grant an order for access.

For more information about access and privacy see our factsheet Access and Privacy.

 

Reviewed: 3/12/13

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