Landlords must get tenants' consent before showing people through a property.
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Judy and Roger* were moving out of their rented apartment and into a newly built home. They gave notice to their landlord, Wellington-based FullHouse Management, and asked to be told when the company would be showing prospective tenants through the flat. The property manager advised viewings would take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 10am and 5pm and said this was all the "reasonable notice required".
Judy didn't buy this: "We were happy for people to be shown through but just wanted to have specific viewing times." And Judy and Roger were entirely within their rights. The Residential Tenancies Act requires landlords to get the tenants' prior consent to showing people through the property. Tenants can't unreasonably withhold consent – but they can attach reasonable conditions.
After Judy complained, the property manager said she’d put an alert on the system noting the couple "would prefer to be called" before viewings.
FullHouse's Director Sue Yiannoutos told us the company's procedure is to request access to the property the day prior to viewings and said staff never enter a property without the tenant's permission. The company says tenants can make a written complaint if they believe their concerns are not being addressed by staff.
"If one of our staff members is not following procedures then we should have the opportunity to address this", Sue says. "We may not have got it right this time and...we would have liked the opportunity to have put it right for these tenants."
Judy didn't make a formal complaint to FullHouse – she believes the property manager should have got it right to start with. We agree. Property managers need to ensure they comply with the law. This means getting the tenants' prior consent to showing people through the property. If they don't, they're breaching the Act.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.