Renting Guide

Landlord inspections: what to expect

They’re not as scary as you may think.

Property inspections. These two little words often strike fear into the hearts of tenants. But, in reality, they shouldn’t be anything to fear.

From your perspective, an inspection is a convenient chance to flag issues with your landlord (though you can do this anytime), and for the owner… well, they want to check you haven’t trashed their house.

But what should you expect from a landlord inspection? Here are answers to some common questions.

Rental house inspections: what you need to know

1. How often can a landlord do inspections?

In New Zealand, a landlord can’t inspect occupied rental properties more than once every four weeks. They also have to schedule their visits between the hours of 8am and 7pm for rental properties, and 8am and 6pm for boarding houses.

If your inspection reveals something you need to fix or clean, the landlord can reinspect the property to make sure you’ve done this. Obviously, they don’t have to wait four weeks to do this, but they do need to give you 48 hours’ notice before this reinspection.

2. Can a landlord do an inspection without notice?

This is a hard no. Landlords can’t do surprise inspections in New Zealand.

If your landlord wants to come and inspect the property, they have to give you a minimum of 48 hours’ notice. On the other end of the spectrum, they can’t tell you about an inspection more than 14 days before it will happen.

Your landlord can't do surprise inspections/

3. Can a landlord do an inspection without you being there?

Yes, but they should ask you if you want to be.

If you aren’t going to be there when the landlord comes to do their inspection, it’s a good idea to send them an email or leave a note about any issues with the property that you’d like them to investigate.

4. How tidy does my rental need to be for an inspection?

According to the Tenancies Act (1986) Among your responsibilities as a tenant are:

  • Keeping the property “reasonably clean and tidy”.
  • Letting the landlord know about any damage or maintenance issues.
  • Not “intentionally or carelessly” damaging the property.

So, what does “reasonably clean and tidy” mean? Well, it’s somewhat open to interpretation – but you definitely don’t need to do a full deep clean before every property inspection. The primary purpose of these checks is to ensure there’s no damage, everything is working well and you’ve not turned the place into a tip. So make an effort with your cleaning, but don’t go overboard.

5. Should I be worried about landlords taking photos during inspections?

Nope, it’s pretty standard for landlords to take photos during an inspection. Similar to why we recommend tenants to take photos when they first move in, this is simply so they have evidence in case there are disputes in the future.

However, the landlord should take good care not to include any of your possessions in their photos whenever this is possible.

6. Can landlords inspect your room?

We get it, it seems a bit weird, but yes they can. If you’re really uncomfortable with the idea of someone being in your bedroom, the best thing to do is work with your landlord to make sure you’ll be home when they come to do the inspection.