In this blog, we look at the rules and regulations in respect of a landlord, agent or any other third party entering a tenanted property.
The overriding rule in all circumstances is in accordance with the Housing Act 1988 that a landlord or letting agent must notify the tenant, in writing, at least 24 hours before they wish to enter the property.
Quiet enjoyment refers to the right to live peacefully and undisturbed in your home. This include how people access your home.
The right of ‘quiet enjoyment’ is given to any legal occupant, be he the freeholder of the property, or a legal tenant. The only thing that can overrule the right for ‘quiet enjoyment’ is a relevant court order, allowing access to the property to a specific officer of the county court.
Upon signing an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement, the landlord agrees to surrender the possession of the property to the tenant for the agreed fixed term. With this, also comes the right of quiet enjoyment.
The Correct Notice
Whilst tenants have authority to control the access of their home, landlords also have a right to enter, as they need access to uphold their responsibilities for legal safety certificates, repairs and maintenance and scheduled inspections.
This means that unless the landlord or agent has served the tenant with at least 24 hours notice before they require access, the tenant is under no obligation to grant access to the property.
The notice should also state:
- The time of the visit which must be at a reasonable time of the day and allows the tenant to be present.
- Contains details about who will enter the property and for what reason.
Reasons for Entry
The landlord/agent has a right to inspect the property on reasonable intervals throughout the tenancy. This inspection will check the condition and cleanliness of the property and will also check that the tenancy agreement is not being breached in any way.
Repairs and Maintenance
The landlord is responsible to maintain and repair the property after the tenant reports a problem, or an inspection has highlighted an issue.
When the landlord needs professional work done in the property, he can authorise workers to come in and do the necessary repairs. They may require internal access to the property to do their work.
Annual Gas Safety Check
The landlord is required by law to renew the gas safety certificate by performing an annual check to the gas installation and appliances.
The safety check needs to be done by a certified Gas Safe Register engineer who will need to access the property to perform this check.
Electrical Safety Check
The landlord is now required to perform an electrical safety check to check the electrical installations at the property.
This needs to be carried out by a competent and qualified person who will require access to the property.
When the tenant has given notice to vacate their rental property, the landlord may want to begin marketing the property to prospective tenants to reduce void periods. They will need to access and show the property around. It is reasonable to expect that the property is in tidy condition for the viewings.
Cases of Emergency
In an emergency, the landlord/agent will need immediate access to the property.
At such times, they do not need permission to access the property. This is very rare and usually only happens when safety issues are at stake. For example:
- There is a fire in the property.
- There is a smell of gas.
- Flooding coming from the property.
- There has been structural damage which urgently needs attention.
- There is the suspicion of a violent or criminal incident.
Since tenants and may have differing views and reasons for allowing or not allowing access, the only way to satisfy all parties is through open communication by all parties..
Just because a tenant CAN refuse access, it doesn’t mean they should!
Tenants should always co-operate and provide access for repairs, maintenance and inspections as it helps the landlord keep the property safe and fit for habitation.
The landlord cannot be responsible for repairs they never did because the tenant refused access to carry them out.
Lets be honest, if access continues to be denied, it’s very likely that the landlord will start eviction proceedings.
If the tenant does have an issue in adhering to a 24 hour notice period, then a proposal that an increased notice period is given in the future may be agreed by the landlord. visit.
Harassment and Trespass
Most visits take place without any hassle at all. However, problems will occur if:
- Visits are often and unnecessary
- Visits are regularly too long in relation to the reason for the visit.
- Visiting times are unreasonable; late at night or early in the morning
- Access to the property is actioned without a tenants permission
Unapproved visitors could be guilty of harassment or trespass if they enter the property without notice or permission.
It is a criminal offence for anyone to visit in order to make tenants feel uncomfortable.
It is very simple to ensure property visits happen without any problems.
All parties should stick to the rules and a healthy landlord tenant relationship will follow.
If you have any questions on any aspect of letting or renting a property, please contact us on 01332 300170