Do I need to provide access?

Restrictions on people entering your home during the COVID-19 crisis have changed a number of times. We are regularly updating this Guide to keep it up to date. For the latest info, also see the page: What you can and can't do under the rules (NSW Government).
 

On Monday 11 October 2021 the first phase of the NSW Government’s roadmap out of lockdown began with an ease of restrictions across the State. The level of restrictions that apply will depend on whether you are living in a general or stay at home area. The NSW Government is changing the areas in these categories as there are outbreaks and we will make updates as the information comes to hand.

Can the landlord continue with inspections for sale or lease, including onsite auctions and open homes?

General areas

 
Under the current Public Health Orders if you live in a general area of NSW, you cannot have more than 20 visitors to your home at any one time (rules are different for unvaccinated adults).

Persons at the premises for the purpose of viewing or inspecting the property for sale or lease, or participating in an auction area not counted as ‘visitors’ for the purpose of these visitor limits. This means that landlords and real estate agents do not have to comply with the relevant visitor limits when holding inspections for sale or lease or auction at your house.

Access still needs to comply with the normal access rules as detailed in our Access factsheet


For all homes in NSW, if a real estate agent is engaged by your landlord to sell or lease your property, that agent must ensure that an onsite auction or viewing of the property is conducted in compliance with a relevant COVID-19 Safety Plan. COVID-19 Safety Plans are used by real estate and other businesses to ensure compliance with government health and safety guidelines during COVID-19. If the real estate agent does not have a COVID-19 Safety Plan they could be fined. See ‘COVID-19 Safety Plan’ below.

If you have health and safety concerns about an inspection or onsite auction being held at your house, you should follow these steps:

  1. You can check with the real estate agent if they have a COVID-Safety Plan in place and you should ask for a copy of this so you can make sure that the health and safety guidelines it contains are being followed. See ‘COVID-19 Safety Plan’ below.
  2. The Residential Tenancies Act 2010 does not allow for onsite auctions without your consent and only allows for inspections by prospective purchasers with proper notice. Arguably, you do not have to agree to an open-house inspection, where the property is left open to anyone, not just prospective purchasers. You could write to the landlord/agent to get an undertaking that the people accessing are indeed prospective purchasers. For more information see our factsheet on Sale of Rented Premises.
  3. Key health guidelines (see below) should still be met. We suggest writing to your landlord/agent to obtain an undertaking that appropriate precautionary measures are in place prior to bringing individuals through your home.

Stay at home areas


As at Monday 18 October 2021 the NSW Government has not classified any areas as stay at home. The NSW Government may add areas to this category as COVID-19 outbreaks occur. We will update this section if an area is classified as a stay at home area.

COVID-19 Safety Plan


If you are concerned that the agent is not complying with their requirement to have a COVID-Safety plan, you should consider writing about your concerns. This sample letter can be adapted to your personal circumstances and used to get an undertaking from them that precautionary measures are in place.

Dear [Landlord or Real Estate Agent],

I note your request about accessing my home for [purpose]. As per the requirements under the Public Health Order, we ask that you confirm for us that you have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place and that you provide us with that plan in advance. We also ask that you provide confirmation that you will undertake the following precautionary steps when entering our home:

- ensure foot covering is provided to all the invitees

- ensure facial masks are provided to (and worn by) all invitees prior to entry

- hand sanitiser is provided and used before each entry

observe the 4m square metre rule

- observe the 1.5m social distancing

- ensuring all invitees are indeed prospective tenants/purchasers and all contact details of the invitees are properly kept to allow for contact tracing if necessary.

[If applicable: I note that in our household we are (or have close relatives) in the high risk group of contracting COVID-19 and that these measures are necessary to ensure our health and wellbeing, as well as to protect the broader community.] 

Please confirm your response to us in writing to avoid any confusion. Upon your confirmation, we will agree to the following access: [date], [time], [for the purposes of...]

Yours faithfully,

[Your Name]

If the agent is not able to produce a copy of their COVID-19 Safety Plan, or if the agent does not have a Plan, you can also:

a.     Report the agent to NSW Fair Trading.
b.     Write to the agent to make clear that the inspection cannot lawfully
        proceed until they can demonstrate that a COVID-19 safety plan is implemented in  
        accordance with the Public Health Orders.

See also:

Do I have to give access for repairs?

 

The current Public Health Orders that came into effect on 11 October 2021 outline two classified areas in NSW - general and stay at home.

General areas

If you live in a general area in NSW, there are restrictions on who and for what purpose people can enter your home. However, the public health orders outline that a person is authorised to be at a place of residence ‘to carry out work.’

Access by a landlord/agent or another person authorised by the landlord depends on the type of repair being undertaken and still needs to comply with the normal access rules as set out in the Residential Tenancies Act 2010. See our Access factsheet.

Persons visiting your home, including tradespeople should follow the key health guidelines (see below). You could write to your landlord/agent to point to the fact that key health guidelines should be followed and any highlight concerns you might have and potentially negotiate different timing.

Stay at home areas

As at Monday 18 October 2021 the NSW Government has not classified any areas as stay at home. The NSW Government may add areas to this category as COVID-19 outbreaks occur. We will update this section if an area is classified as a stay at home area.

Do I need to allow routine inspections or other access? 
 

General areas

The current Public Health Orders allow routine inspections and other visits by third parties undertaking work.

Access by a landlord/agent or another person authorised by the landlord is still required to comply with the normal access rules as set out in the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.See our Access factsheet.

Anyone visiting your home, including landlords/agents and third parties being paid, should follow the key health guidelines (see below).

Alternatively, they may organise a virtual inspection, though this does transfer their work onto you. Routine inspections require 7 days written notice – even for virtual inspections.

Whilst access by a third party being paid to attend is permitted, you could ask whether the visit can be delayed and negotiate a different timing.

Stay at home areas

As at Monday 18 October 2021 the NSW Government has not classified any areas as stay at home. The NSW Government may add areas to this category as COVID-19 outbreaks occur. We will update this section if an area is classified as a stay at home area.

Key health guidelines

 

If the landlord or agent is going to enter your home or bring individuals through your home, key health guidelines must still be met, including that agents and landlords take steps to:

  • Ensure physical distancing of greater than 1.5m is maintained
  • Ensure people wear a face mask if unable to maintain 1.5m of physical distance from others
  • Promote good hygiene on premises, including providing hand sanitiser
  • Use digital platforms where possible to discourage physical contact
  • Keep detailed contact records of people attending open homes
  • Manage the number of people entering small spaces

You can read the NSW Government's guidelines on social distancing here.

See also What you can and can't do under the rules (NSW Government)