CAN COUNCIL OFFICERS ENTER PROPERTIES TO CONDUCT APPROVED INSPECTIONS?

I’ve received a number of inquiries regarding Council’s authority to enter onto private property as part of its inspection/compliance regimes.

This is my personal understanding of the process and limitations.

1.  As I understand it, anyone has the right under Common Law to approach the front door of a property unless a gate is locked or a sign erected to prohibit entry onto the property.

2.  Approved Council officers/contractors can however further enter a property (but not a dwelling/home) in accordance with an approved inspection program.

3.  The program must be the subject of a formal Council resolution which clearly defines the purpose of the program, the location (can be region-wide) and the duration of the program. For example it could be for Vector Control purposes (mosquito eradication program), sewer main smoking testing, swimming pool compliance, building/plumbing compliance, dog registration compliance, etc).

4.  The program must be advertised as a public notice in the local newspaper and on its website and is usually the subject of wider media coverage. At least 14 days but not more than 28 days notice must be given.

5.  If the duration of the program needs to be extended more than 3 months it has to be brought back to a formal Council meeting for an additional resolution.

6.  Council must give or attempt to give written notice to the owner of the property advising of the intention to enter.

I hope this helps to answer the inquiries however if not, the relevant legislation is provided under Sections 133 & 134 of the Local Government Act 2009 which can found here: http://www.gregbarnes.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/133-Entering-property-under-an-approved-inspection-program.pdf.

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