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Lee Harvey Oswald

Unaccompanied Entry

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Hi,

One final sticking point on my new contract.

Agent is insisting on the right to enter the property unaccompanied in order to conduct inspections, should we not be there. We are adamant that this is unacceptable, other than in the event of an emergency.

There seems to be little way forward at this moment in time. While I am convinced that we are being reasonable, I would appreciate any views either way, together with anything that might back up wither viewpoint.

Thanks in advance.

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Hi,

One final sticking point on my new contract.

Agent is insisting on the right to enter the property unaccompanied in order to conduct inspections, should we not be there. We are adamant that this is unacceptable, other than in the event of an emergency.

There seems to be little way forward at this moment in time. While I am convinced that we are being reasonable, I would appreciate any views either way, together with anything that might back up wither viewpoint.

Thanks in advance.

Such a clause is unenforcable so there seems little point to them insisting upon having it. (But persuading them of this is another matter)

tim

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Such a clause is unenforcable so there seems little point to them insisting upon having it. (But persuading them of this is another matter)

tim

Thanks for taking the trouble to respond Tim.

So long as the clause stands, and the agent has a key (I am reluctant to change locks, as I don't want to get the LL's back up from the off), there is nothing to stop them from letting themselves in.

Am looking at the 'quiet enjoyment' covenant at the moment, as I believe that their wording breaches this. I should be able to control who enters the property and when.

I guess that there is nothing to stop me from signing the contract, and then subsequently writing a letter to the agent, withdrawing my agreement to unaccompanied entry, and informing them that any breach would be treated as trespass?

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Thanks for taking the trouble to respond Tim.

So long as the clause stands, and the agent has a key (I am reluctant to change locks, as I don't want to get the LL's back up from the off), there is nothing to stop them from letting themselves in.

Am looking at the 'quiet enjoyment' covenant at the moment, as I believe that their wording breaches this. I should be able to control who enters the property and when.

I guess that there is nothing to stop me from signing the contract, and then subsequently writing a letter to the agent, withdrawing my agreement to unaccompanied entry, and informing them that any breach would be treated as trespass?

Them letting themselves in, is a breach of your quiet enjoyment and you can tell them not to do so.

Enforcing it (short of changing the locks) is the difficult part

tim

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Them letting themselves in, is a breach of your quiet enjoyment and you can tell them not to do so.

Enforcing it (short of changing the locks) is the difficult part

tim

update -

Spoke with partner at LA tonight, and he asked what my objection was. I said that I valued my privacy, and thus didn't want people in my home while I was not there. I responded by saying that it was not my home, as I was only renting it! I went ballistic at this stage.

Row raged for some time, and he also said "what do you do for a living? what gives you the right to dictate what can or cannot go into my contracts?".

I really could not believe the patronising attitude, and gave at least as good as I got.

The way it was left was that he was going to contact the LL, and advise that my change to the contract was going to prevent him from doing his job properly!

Still have not calmed down. If the property was not so spectacular, we would have walked by now. Still very tempted to. Will let you know where it goes from here.

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I don't complain about these notices in leases because every time I do this the agent or LL just finds a less "difficult" tenant. I've lost properties before and although it is tempting to say that I saved a lot of hassle, the new EA or new LL just presents a new lot for me to deal with.....

What I say is that I expect notice of when they want to want visit and I sometimes find that it doesn't happen at all. It's just been the EA either flexing a muscle or putting it there for the eventuality that they need to snoop for some reason.

When I have discussed this with a lawyer and when my cases have come to the small claims court, there has always been a respect for the tenants right to quiet enjoyment. One LL hired a lawyer to harass me to gain entry for EA's when he was selling and the lawyer backed off when I explained that entry = harassment for me and gave examples of bad practices (i.e. dragging in dog muck on their shoes or entering the flat when I was sick with food poisoning and actually vomiting at the time...)

Hope this helps. It's a huge minefield for tenants to negotiate their way through.

Edited by Flopsy

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You need to present this landlordzone.co.uk - they also have a moderator who is a solictor or even shelter online - they'll reply within 48 hours.

I you've not paid any money over - and at this stage I hope you haven't - then I'd drop this like a hot potato.

You don't want to be involved with anyone letting on this basis - it's damned close to illegal - makes you wonder what treatment you'll get from anyone like that - they are supposed to be on your side too!!

Even if you have paid for checks to be done - I'd still walk away.

I always say that I don't want people unaccompanied because I have private bank details, and personal details in my folders - and I don't want anyone to be taking the information illegally so that they can then use my personal information for scams - it happened to me around 10 years ago - when I didn't know the rules - and an EA gave the key to a total stranger - as the flat was on the market - and the guy took my bank details - and personal details from my files - and then tried a bank fraud - but got caught.

Once I've said that - normally LL / agents realise that it's a no-brainer.

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Guest skullingtonjoe
Hi,

One final sticking point on my new contract.

Agent is insisting on the right to enter the property unaccompanied in order to conduct inspections, should we not be there. We are adamant that this is unacceptable, other than in the event of an emergency.

There seems to be little way forward at this moment in time. While I am convinced that we are being reasonable, I would appreciate any views either way, together with anything that might back up wither viewpoint.

Thanks in advance.

Just agree to it verbally (or even sign it anyway!) If they try to come in unattended do not let them; if they whine about `oh the contract says` just refer them to the local council about `quiet enjoyment`.

It really p1sses me off to see tenants treated this way. :angry:

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You need to present this landlordzone.co.uk - they also have a moderator who is a solictor or even shelter online - they'll reply within 48 hours.

I you've not paid any money over - and at this stage I hope you haven't - then I'd drop this like a hot potato.

You don't want to be involved with anyone letting on this basis - it's damned close to illegal - makes you wonder what treatment you'll get from anyone like that - they are supposed to be on your side too!!

Even if you have paid for checks to be done - I'd still walk away.

I always say that I don't want people unaccompanied because I have private bank details, and personal details in my folders - and I don't want anyone to be taking the information illegally so that they can then use my personal information for scams - it happened to me around 10 years ago - when I didn't know the rules - and an EA gave the key to a total stranger - as the flat was on the market - and the guy took my bank details - and personal details from my files - and then tried a bank fraud - but got caught.

Once I've said that - normally LL / agents realise that it's a no-brainer.

Not to mention that it would probably invalidate any contents insurance you may have.

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I mentioned this in another post but I think it's also relevant here. I bought a cheap (£100) wireless alarm system. Mount any components with anti-tamper switches on the back on a small piece of board (or securely tape the contacts in the closed position) so that you don't need to do a drilled and screwed installation and give them reason to not return deposit. Now if they try to come in they will trigger your alarm and think twice about doing it again. When my LA told me about a planned visit when I wasn't in I told them that they would come up against the alarm system and that stopped them in their tracks and never tried. Tennant 1, LA/LL 0.

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Thanks for taking the trouble to respond Tim.

So long as the clause stands, and the agent has a key (I am reluctant to change locks, as I don't want to get the LL's back up from the off), there is nothing to stop them from letting themselves in.

Am looking at the 'quiet enjoyment' covenant at the moment, as I believe that their wording breaches this. I should be able to control who enters the property and when.

I guess that there is nothing to stop me from signing the contract, and then subsequently writing a letter to the agent, withdrawing my agreement to unaccompanied entry, and informing them that any breach would be treated as trespass?

IANAL, but my advice is, say yes to the funny clause. After you are in, inform them that if they enter the property unaccompanied without permission, they are breaching the Human Rights Act 1988 Article 8:

Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

If they breach this, it is a *criminal* offence and a police matter. Therefore tell them that if they enter the property under those conditions, tell them to set aside the following week to spend in a police cell.

That should learn 'em! :lol:

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Guest skullingtonjoe
I'd walk away. They are contemptible tossers who have no respect for you. Why give them your money?

He`s got a good point there ;)

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Many thanks for all of the kind responses.

Flopsy

I don't complain about these notices in leases because every time I do this the agent or LL just finds a less "difficult" tenant

It is a risk that a new tenant might be found, but my experience is that these larger houses are difficult to move at the moment. Not everyone wants the hassle of maintaining such a large property, or the pool and grounds. Due to move in at the end of next week, landlords are leaving the country in the next few days. A lengthy void could cost them significantly. I don’t believe that they will want to lose us at this stage, certainly not over a clause that does nothing other than make the agent’s job easier.

heather

Thanks for the suggestion of landlordzone. I had previously ignored this area, as I thought that it was purely a discussion forum for landlords, and that as such it would be o no interest to me. I have found an excellent discussion there on quiet enjoyment:

http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showt...hlight=viewings

Sorry to hear about your experience with credit card fraud in the past, this is just one of many reasons for me objecting to having a stranger in my home.

skullingtonjoe

Just agree to it verbally (or even sign it anyway!) If they try to come in unattended do not let them; if they whine about `oh the contract says` just refer them to the local council about `quiet enjoyment`.

Have already had the quiet enjoyment conversation with the LA, but they just don’t get what this means. Their argument was that by publishing the dates well in advance, that this would not interfere with our quiet enjoyment.

surfcat

Not to mention that it would probably invalidate any contents insurance you may have.

Perfect – you are quite right that there is almost certain to be something in my contents insurance, covering this. Thanks for this additional angle that I had not considered.

v23nb

Thanks for the suggestion re the wireless alarm, someone else has referred me to a cheaper alternative, that I am yet to look into in detail:

http://www.all-about-the-home.co.uk/...very-601-p.asp

I think one of these is definitely going to be on my shopping list.

Sir Sidney Roughdiamond

IANAL, but my advice is, say yes to the funny clause. After you are in, inform them that if they enter the property unaccompanied without permission, they are breaching the Human Rights Act 1988 Article 8:

Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

Thanks very much for this, the law certainly does seem to be on my side. I would however prefer to be upfront about what is agreeable. I don’t want to signup to just anything, and then set out what is agreeable after I have moved in. This would be likely to alienate the LL, and possibly generate an early S21. By being open and honest from the start, I would hope for a good and lengthy relationship with the LL.

shylock

I'd walk away. They are contemptible tossers who have no respect for you. Why give them your money?

LA does deserve nothing but contempt, but the LL seems genuine and pragmatic. Unfortunately the bulk of my contact would be with LA, so I see where you are coming from. It is a balance I guess between how much we want the house (and it really is a dream property), and how much hassle we can take. I would like to think that this is nothing but muscle-flexing by the LA, to see how far he can push us; and that, now that I have stood my ground, contact will be minimal.

I have dropped the LL a note this morning, outlining the conversation that took place last night, and expressing my hope that the LA will come back today with a more conciliatory and professional attitude. It would be a pity for negotiations to stall at this late stage, purely over the insertion of a clause that does nothing but make the LA’s job easier. I have promised to call the LL tonight, if things have not moved on.

A good result for me would be for them to appoint an alternative agent, perhaps this is something that I will suggest, should the LA remain entrenched. LL has alot on at the moment though, with finalising visas, flights etc, furniture shipments etc, so I don’t want to give them a headache with this just yet.

Will let you know how it goes.

Thanks again for all of the advice.

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I've never had a specific clause saying they can enter unattended, but as I've said here before it's always a good idea to replace the locks whatever the contract might say.

For starters, a previous tenant could still have a set of keys for the place, and just waltz in at any time if they wanted to, not worth the risk surely? Likewise, if the LL/LA needs to get in for maintenance then he's more than welcome to gimme a ring and I'll arrange to be there, so no need for them to have a key really. I can't see why there would be any 'need' to come round when I'm out other than to snoop around in my private life.

It's very easy to do on a standard Yale lock, just unscrew the lock, slide the barrel out, and replace it with a new one. You can always switch it back at the end of the tenancy too so there's no permanent change.

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Guest skullingtonjoe
I've never had a specific clause saying they can enter unattended, but as I've said here before it's always a good idea to replace the locks whatever the contract might say.

For starters, a previous tenant could still have a set of keys for the place, and just waltz in at any time if they wanted to, not worth the risk surely? Likewise, if the LL/LA needs to get in for maintenance then he's more than welcome to gimme a ring and I'll arrange to be there, so no need for them to have a key really. I can't see why there would be any 'need' to come round when I'm out other than to snoop around in my private life.

It's very easy to do on a standard Yale lock, just unscrew the lock, slide the barrel out, and replace it with a new one. You can always switch it back at the end of the tenancy too so there's no permanent change.

Yep, that`s perfectly legal and good advice :)

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Thanks for the advice on changing locks. Would prefer not to go down this route though, and have agreed to a clause in the contract that prevents me from doing this. Entry may be required in the event of an emergency, and I wouldn't like to find that my changing the locks had prevented this entry.

House has not been let before, so I would only expect LL and LA to have keys. Wireless alarm seems the way to go though; it does not prevent access, but would certainly deter unnecessary access.

Update -

Had a conversation with the LL earlier, and he understands where we are coming from. He acknowledged that he wouldn't like strangers in his home either.

The agent has however got him concerned that perhaps the inspections might not take place without this provision, and thus that there will be no way of checking up on the well being of his investment.

I have suggested that maybe we incorporate an obligation into the contract, that the I am to permit quarterly inspections at times pre-agreed with the LA. Thus, in the event that we were not there at the agreed time, we would be in breach of contract. The LL would then have the option of terminating the contract, or for getting recompense from us in respect of the additional costs of arranging a further inspection.

LL has no legal expertise, but he thought that this was a reasonable way forward.

Does this seem reasonable, or are there any flaws in this thinking? Wording of the clause should be fairly straightforward, perhaps something along the lines of:

To make the property available for inspections on a quarterly basis, at pre-agreed times and dates, by the landlord, and to be present at aforesaid inspections.

Any thoughts/advice would be gratefully appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

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Thanks for the advice on changing locks. Would prefer not to go down this route though, and have agreed to a clause in the contract that prevents me from doing this. Entry may be required in the event of an emergency, and I wouldn't like to find that my changing the locks had prevented this entry.

House has not been let before, so I would only expect LL and LA to have keys. Wireless alarm seems the way to go though; it does not prevent access, but would certainly deter unnecessary access.

Update -

Had a conversation with the LL earlier, and he understands where we are coming from. He acknowledged that he wouldn't like strangers in his home either.

The agent has however got him concerned that perhaps the inspections might not take place without this provision, and thus that there will be no way of checking up on the well being of his investment.

I have suggested that maybe we incorporate an obligation into the contract, that the I am to permit quarterly inspections at times pre-agreed with the LA. Thus, in the event that we were not there at the agreed time, we would be in breach of contract. The LL would then have the option of terminating the contract, or for getting recompense from us in respect of the additional costs of arranging a further inspection.

LL has no legal expertise, but he thought that this was a reasonable way forward.

Does this seem reasonable, or are there any flaws in this thinking? Wording of the clause should be fairly straightforward, perhaps something along the lines of:

To make the property available for inspections on a quarterly basis, at pre-agreed times and dates, by the landlord, and to be present at aforesaid inspections.

Any thoughts/advice would be gratefully appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

I would not agree to any penalties or timelines for inspections. Suppose you agree on a day and you or your family have some emergency or are on a last minute holiday and cannot be there for the inspection - then why should you pay any penalty?

The LL is entitled to regular rental payments and little else. He has a deposit, and that is insurance enough against any potential damage....BTW, if the LL was living there earlier, have you checked that the mortgage company has agreed for the house to be let out?

There are lots of good properties out there - walk away. I walked away from a property that was really nice and cheaper than my current place. I am very happy with my decision because the LA for the preferred property was a jerk, and I knew it would be hassle dealing with them down the road and just not worth the trouble

In a month or so, you will totally forget about this place anyway, so don't let your immediate attachment cloud your judgement

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I have to agree with Flatbread. How often are you really going to be dealing with the LL? Are you sure the LL isn't just making appropriate noises to get you in the property? You are ultimately going to be dealing with the LA for all the important stuff, and they clearly hold you in contempt. Having said that, I wish you the best of luck with whatever decision you make.

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Thanks for the advice on changing locks. Would prefer not to go down this route though, and have agreed to a clause in the contract that prevents me from doing this. Entry may be required in the event of an emergency, and I wouldn't like to find that my changing the locks had prevented this entry.

House has not been let before, so I would only expect LL and LA to have keys. Wireless alarm seems the way to go though; it does not prevent access, but would certainly deter unnecessary access.

Update -

Had a conversation with the LL earlier, and he understands where we are coming from. He acknowledged that he wouldn't like strangers in his home either.

The agent has however got him concerned that perhaps the inspections might not take place without this provision, and thus that there will be no way of checking up on the well being of his investment.

I have suggested that maybe we incorporate an obligation into the contract, that the I am to permit quarterly inspections at times pre-agreed with the LA. Thus, in the event that we were not there at the agreed time, we would be in breach of contract. The LL would then have the option of terminating the contract, or for getting recompense from us in respect of the additional costs of arranging a further inspection.

LL has no legal expertise, but he thought that this was a reasonable way forward.

Does this seem reasonable, or are there any flaws in this thinking? Wording of the clause should be fairly straightforward, perhaps something along the lines of:

To make the property available for inspections on a quarterly basis, at pre-agreed times and dates, by the landlord, and to be present at aforesaid inspections.

Any thoughts/advice would be gratefully appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

I think you're being eminently reasonable and am sure most LLs would love to have you as a tenant. It's shame that the agent is not being professional about it - as you say, their reluctance seems mostly based on their own convenience.

It also seems very strange that they have told you that the rented place is not your "home", when I believe the legal position on this is that it *is* your home as long as you rent it, hence your right to quiet enjoyment.

Are the letting agents members of a professional body, such as ARLA? If so, you could speak to them about this issue as I suspect this isn't in line with their code of conduct.

As for the LA asking you who you are to tell him how to write his contracts... a contract is always a matter of negotiation, so he's just being bolshy.

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Hi,

One final sticking point on my new contract.

Agent is insisting on the right to enter the property unaccompanied in order to conduct inspections, should we not be there. We are adamant that this is unacceptable, other than in the event of an emergency.

There seems to be little way forward at this moment in time. While I am convinced that we are being reasonable, I would appreciate any views either way, together with anything that might back up wither viewpoint.

Thanks in advance.

The other thing I would point out to the LA is that this might invalidate your contents insurance.

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I haven't read through all of the responses to this thread, but I suspect the clause has crept into the LA's standard paperwork (probably years ago, following problems with a specific tenant who perhaps left the property unoccupied for a long period of time and kicked up a fuss when the LA did actually NEED to get in there, and so on). I'll bet it is actually never used.

However, if you feel strongly about it, just smile, nod and change the locks. It's a cost to you, but not a huge one. The protestations of LA's can safely be ignored.

Financial Hack's comment that previous tenants may still have a key kicking around is good point. Changing locks as a matter of course is probably a good idea.

Edited by MacGuffin

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I would not agree to any penalties or timelines for inspections. Suppose you agree on a day and you or your family have some emergency or are on a last minute holiday and cannot be there for the inspection - then why should you pay any penalty?

The LL is entitled to regular rental payments and little else. He has a deposit, and that is insurance enough against any potential damage....BTW, if the LL was living there earlier, have you checked that the mortgage company has agreed for the house to be let out?

There are lots of good properties out there - walk away. I walked away from a property that was really nice and cheaper than my current place. I am very happy with my decision because the LA for the preferred property was a jerk, and I knew it would be hassle dealing with them down the road and just not worth the trouble

In a month or so, you will totally forget about this place anyway, so don't let your immediate attachment cloud your judgement

I am not a landlord, but I would say that you have to look at the landlord's rights as well. They need to be protected too.

There has to be some way in which the Landlord can inspect the state of the property from time to time, it is their asset after all.

And these provisions are meant for troublesome tenants. If you have a good tenant, these measures would never be used to harrass someone, after all, the Landlord just wants his property treated with respect and to be paid on time. Would you harrass anyone who was doing that?

But if you had a troublesome tenant, you need to find out the state of the property. What to do if they refuse accompanied inspections, perhaps by simply by not being there or pretending to be there? You have to have some provision that allows you entry just to check on things, or else you effectively lose the ability to look after your asset.

Someone talked about human rights earlier. But the LL has a right to look after their asset as well.

It sounds to me from your discussion that the landlord is reasonable, and isnt going to bother you with unplanned visits. If you are a good tenant, I would just sign the agreement. Or as you say, modify it, which allows unaccompanied visits by the LL or his representative if he has been unable to inspect the property on two occasions in succession due to your absence, or if you have failed to pay on time.

The contract you have between you is up to you. Just write it in plain English, and keep a copy. I am sure that you will get along just fine.

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Just a quick line to advise that the additional Tenant Obligation has been approved by all, and that the unaccompanied entry clause is to be deleted.

The LA spent far too long in this instance in becoming entrenched regarding a clause that he wanted. What he should have done, was to stand back, identify what it actually was that he wanted to achieve, and then work out an alternative way to achieve that objective. This new clause gives him what he wants, and dispenses with a clause that horrified me.

I understand some of the advice regarding the fact that I don't have to include this clause, but at times it pays to be pragmatic. Inspection dates have been advised 12 months in advance, none of them clash with birthdays or school holidays etc, and Mrs. Oswald doesn't work. Hence I have no doubt that we will be able to comply with inspection dates.

Regarding mortgage company, I don't really have any concerns there. LL is a very high flyer, in an extremely senior position at one of the investment banks that we all know and love! Despite the fact the house cost him close on £1m last summer, it wouldn't surprise me if he paid cash. If not, I would be very surprised if he defaulted. Am content that he is solvent, and don't wish to insult him by questioning his financial position.

Like I said, I believe that a little pragmatism is required from time to time.

Thanks again for all of the excellent advice.

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