Can landlords do random inspections?

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RANDOM INSPECTIONS

People often wonder if Landlords can simply drop by for random inspections and if they have to allow the Landlord entry to the rental unit. Generally, the answer is no. Each province has their own residential tenancy laws, however, there are similarities across the country.  

Here are three examples of when a Landlord can enter a rental property without providing written notice:

1. Emergency situations

RANDOM INSPECTIONS

In the event of flood, fire or other immediate danger to property or life, the Landlord can enter without written notice. Their main objective is to ensure the safety of the property and residents. If there is an emergency and waiting for written notice would be deemed unsafe, landlords are permitted to enter. 

2. Tenant consent is for inspection received

If the Landlord contacts the Tenant to arrange access to complete repairs and the Tenant agrees to a date and time, then generally written notice is not required and the Landlord may enter the home. If a contractor or trades person will be attending, the Landlord may need to be there as well depending on which Province the rental home is in.

3. Property has been abandoned by the tenant

If rent has not been paid, the landlord cannot reach the Tenant for a period of time, or the Tenant’s employer confirms the person no longer works there, the Landlord may be able to treat the unit as abandoned. 

In British Columbia, the rental property is considered abandoned if the tenant has removed their possessions from the building, if the tenant has told the landlord they don’t intend to return, or if the tenant isn’t expected to return – for example, if the tenant has moved into a care home.

Timeframes and rules vary across Provinces so be sure to check with the local Residential Tenancy Office for guidance.

Outside of the above reasons, there are a few situations in which a landlord can enter a rental home with prior written notice. These include:

  1. To inspect the condition of the property. Landlords need to ensure the Tenant is looking after the home and keeping it in a reasonable state of cleanliness. Provincial Residential Tenancy laws detail the frequency at which these types of inspections can occur. Landlords often inspect once a year, but some inspect a rental property twice a year or quarterly. Whatever the case, you are required to notice from the tenant usually 24 or 48 hours in advance of coming by to do the inspection.
  2. To make repairs. If a repair is needed, the Landlord can give appropriate written notice to the Tenant to enter the home to ensure the repairs are completed.
  3. For pest control. If there are rodents, insects or other pests in the home, the Landlord must be able to take appropriate steps to eradicate the pest to protect the health and safety of the residents and the property. Unaddressed pest infestations cause damage to the rental property and can harm the health of the occupant so it’s important that any pests are identified and removed.
  4. To show the property to potential buyers, or mortgage lenders to help with a sale of the property. If the rental property is for sale, the Landlord can provide written notice for buyers to view the property and their lenders can inspect the property for valuation purposes. 
  5. To show the property to prospective new tenants. This can only occur during the last month of a fixed term tenancy, or anytime after a periodic tenancy has been terminated. If a Tenant is moving, the Landlord must be able to show the home to potential new tenants. They can do this by providing written notice to enter the home.

Once written notice has been provided, Tenants are generally not permitted to prevent the Landlord from entering the home. The Tenant can choose to be home during this time if they choose. 

Canadian Residential Tenancy laws vary across provinces, with each Province having jurisdiction for residential tenancies. While there are many similarities, it’s important to check the local laws that apply to your specific situation. 

RANDOM INSPECTIONS

Following are links for the Residential Tenancy laws for British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario:

British Columbia – https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies

Alberta – www.alberta.ca/landlords-tenants.aspx

Ontario – www.ontario.ca/page/renting-ontario-your-rights

These links provide all the information a Landlord may need for handling any issues relating to the right of entry into a rental property. They also provide detailed information relating to other tenancy matters and offer resources, forms and assistance to both Landlords and Tenants. For help with any specific issue related to landlord & tenant matters, you can also reach out to the expert residential leasing team at SingleKey.