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bubbleturbo

Landlord Access Rights

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A friend of mine is having some issues with her landlord.

She is living in a flat which is rented from a landlord by her company. The contract is therefore between the company and the landlord.

The company is her employer. There has been a good relationship with the landlord over the 3 years she has been there. The company pay the rent to the landlord and then charge her 100% back through payroll.

The company has given notice on her flat as she is leaving their employment.She is on the point of exiting the company and has this week been away for a few days attending interviews in another country.

To summarize, landlord wants access to show round new perspective tenants, which my friend has tried to comply with over previous weeks, staying in for then nobody to turn up, etc.

She is away this week and landlord pushed very hard earlier in the week to get access to show round perspective tenants. She explained not in the country so landlord asked for a key to be sent to allow access.

She sent a key in the post, which she did not need to do, the key did not turn up in the post according to the landlord.

The landlord has now taken the view that she needs to access the flat today (this afternoon) to show people round so will force entry and charge a new lock from the deposit.

My friend mailed landlord to say this is against the law.

Any ideas?

Edited by bubbleturbo

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If the flat is broken into I would call the police.

It might be worth calling the police and/or the council ahead of time to explain that the landlord has threatened to break into her flat and change the locks in her absence. This could be an illegal eviction, which is a criminal offence:

http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/eviction/harassment_and_illegal_eviction_by_landlord/illegal_eviction

If it were me, I'd be on the phone now to anybody who will listen (Shelter/council/police). The landlord needs putting back in her box by somebody in a position of authority.

Edited by Dorkins

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Thanks all, I helped her pen a few responses to the lovely lady as you can see in the shortened mail thread below.

Landlord,

I am sorry but your financial situation as a landlord on this property is

not my business.

UK property is not a license to print money nor is it a risk free

investment, periods without tenant are part of the overall game with being

a landlord. As a tenant, these issues are yours as a landlord and really

not something that I should be concerned or harassed by.

I am sorry Landlord but I have tried to get a key to you with best endeavor as

we have seen. I would have then allowed you to access the flat.

May I take this opportunity to remind you here and now that you are NOT

allowed under UK LAW to force access to this property in this situation.

If you do so, you will be breaking the law and will suffer the

consequences. I am sure you can understand that I have possessions in my

flat and I therefore do not want anyone I don't know roaming around the

flat without me or someone I trust there.

The law is completely and totally on my side here and we now have this mail

thread as evidence.

I have sent a key to you, at my own cost. I have offered for you to go and

pick a key up for the flat and you have now refused this. I also offered you a set of keys when we saw each other last time. I have done far

more than I am expected to do under the circumstances. You have in return

tried to threaten me with forcing access to the property, which is against

the law and basically harassment.

I am afraid that if you have any more viewings up to the end of the

tenancy, which is now only a matter of days away I hasten to add, please

request to me in writing to this mail address the date and time you wish to

enter the flat to view. I will confirm back to you if this is mutually

convenient and make best endeavors to ensure it is. I will then ensure

someone is there to allow you access.

However, I state here for the record and backed by law that I do NOT WANT

anyone in my flat without me allowing access as I feel this episode is a

serious breach of trust.

Tenant

Hi Tenant

>

> I've already lost three prospective tenants, the only reasonable way around this is for your friend to arrange a courier for the keys to arrive here before midday tomorrow.

>

> Without viewings, I stand to loose thousands of pounds and that's not acceptable to me particularly when you are aware of the situation.

>

> I'm trying to be reasonable.

>

> Kind Regards

> Landlord

>

> Subject: Re: Keys

> >

> I am sorry Landlord but this is not acceptable to me.

>

> I did you a favour in sending the key via post and you did not state that the key should be sent registered post. In terms of a security risk, there is not one because nobody would know what doors of the millions the key would open.

>

> You have requested access to my flat in order to provide third parties access to view the flat for possible rental not for an inspection under the terms of the contract.

>

> Under the terms of the contract, you do not have the right to enter the flat without my agreement and me or a representative of mine being there in the situation of a viewing.

>

> If you enter the flat in this situation, you will therefore be in breach of the contract. I most certainly do not accept that you change the lock and use any deposit for doing this.

>

> As previously outlined, there are two options, I can send another key to you tomorrow or you have the option of going and collecting a key from a friend of mine.

>

> Otherwise we can re-arrange the viewing for a time that we BOTH agree is convenient and I will arrange for either myself or a representative of mine to be there.

>

> Please respond to that mail or give me a call to discuss.

> Tenant

Hi Tenant

I regret to advise that the key has gone astray, at best it should have been sent registered delivery to get a signature.

The letter I received today had a white sheet of paper so I think we can confidently conclude that this is the one.

The viewings that I have are booked for tomorrow and as mentioned one of them has been rearranged due to you not being able to respond to the estate agent.

I appreciate its going to be inconvenient for you but to be fair, I have provided reasonable notice as per the terms of the contract. And further more, given that the key has now gone astray it will compromise the security of the flat. I will therefore have to change the lock regardless.

I don't wish to make things difficult and if you can let me have details of when you are returning I will make the keys available to you (most likely with the agent in Maidenhead so it shouldn't be problematic).

That said, I will have to deduct the cost of replacing the lock tomorrow from the deposit.

Kind Regards

Landlord

Edited by bubbleturbo

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It has been my understanding that regardless of any terms in the AST the statutory rights of the tenant are such that if they choose they can refuse entry to their HOME (it is their home for the duration of the tenancy) except in cases where emergency repairs are needed that may damage the property, such as a leaking water pipe for example.

Without permission the landlord cannot enter the tenants home. Imagine if this were not the case! What a way to live that would be!

Landlords typically have an over inflated sense of self worth and importance and think that being up to their eyeballs in debt somehow makes them special. It makes them financial illiterates. The order goes something like this:

1, tenant, it is their HOME and they have protection under the law

2, bank, the building belongs to them

3, scum del boy chancer idiot up to their eyeballs in debt under the misapprehension they are financial geniuses having done little more than sign up for debt they cannot afford but are being kept just about solvent by emergency low borrowing costs the likes of which have not been seen for 300 years

I suspect the landlord will illegally enter the tenants home/banks property anyway in which case they should be reported to the police.

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A landlord cannot enter premises for any purpose unless (i) the terms of the tenancy agreement so provide or (ii) the tenant otherwise consents.

Clearly we have no problem with (ii).

We do though with (i). The basic point is that if the tenancy agreement provides for access for any reasonable purpose the landlord is entitled to enter in accordance with the agreement for the purpose specified and provided that he exercises the right reasonably. Subject to those qualifications, a tenant has no right to refuse access where the tenancy agreement provides for it. Failure to comply with the terms of the tenancy is a breach of covenant. The crucial point, which leads to confusion, is that whilst the tenant has no right to refuse access, a landlord cannot insist on entering where the tenant prevents access. So, no landlord should enter if he cannot because the tenant is in and declines to allow the landlord in or he has taken steps to prevent entry, such as changing the locks. In short, a landlord cannot enter in a way likely to cause injury or damage or lead to a breach of the peace. However, a landlord with a key who lets himself in after taking reasonable steps to ensure there is no one at home is not committing a trespass or crime if he enters for a purpose permitted by the terms of the tenancy and has given such notice as the terms require. If on entering he finds someone in he must leave if asked to do so.

Certain rights of entry are implied into a tenancy by statute and the common law. A right of entry to allow prospective tenants to view is not so implied. It must be specifically provided for in the terms of the tenancy. If it is not the landlord cannot insist on access. Where the right is reserved the question arises of how it may be exercised. Where a right of entry is reserved for estate management purposes it is not too difficult to assess if the right is being exercised reasonably. Inspections for viewing by prospective tenants are different because in practice a landlord may need to exercise the right several times. I would not like to say what is reasonable, but the tenant cannot expect to be available at the landlord's beck and call and there has to come a point where the tenant can say he needs a break from a constant stream of visitors. As cybernoid suggests, problems often arise when landlords or agents take a high handed attitude. They need to understand that that is often counterproductive. They should step back and think about how they would feel if they were treated the same way as they treat tenants.

Edited by Damocles

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A landlord cannot enter premises for any purpose unless (i) the terms of the tenancy agreement so provide or (ii) the tenant otherwise consents.

Clearly we have no problem with (ii).

We do though with (i). The basic point is that if the tenancy agreement provides for access for any reasonable purpose the landlord is entitled to enter in accordance with the agreement for the purpose specified and provided that he exercises the right reasonably. Subject to those qualifications, a tenant has no right to refuse access where the tenancy agreement provides for it. Failure to comply with the terms of the tenancy is a breach of covenant. The crucial point, which leads to confusion, is that whilst the tenant has no right to refuse access, a landlord cannot insist on entering where the tenant prevents access. So, no landlord should enter if he cannot because the tenant is in and declines to allow the landlord in or he has taken steps to prevent entry, such as changing the locks. In short, a landlord cannot enter in a way likely to cause injury or damage or lead to a breach of the peace. However, a landlord with a key who lets himself in after taking reasonable steps to ensure there is no one at home is not committing a trespass or crime if he enters for a purpose permitted by the terms of the tenancy and has given such notice as the terms require. If on entering he finds someone in he must leave if asked to do so.

Certain rights of entry are implied into a tenancy by statute and the common law. A right of entry to allow prospective tenants to view is not so implied. It must be specifically provided for in the terms of the tenancy. If it is not the landlord cannot insist on access. Where the right is reserved the question arises of how it may be exercised. Where a right of entry is reserved for estate management purposes it is not too difficult to assess if the right is being exercised reasonably. Inspections for viewing by prospective tenants are different because in practice a landlord may need to exercise the right several times. I would not like to say what is reasonable, but the tenant cannot expect to be available at the landlord's beck and call and there has to come a point where the tenant can say he needs a break from a constant stream of visitors. As cybernoid suggests, problems often arise when landlords or agents take a high handed attitude. They need to understand that that is often counterproductive. They should step back and think about how they would feel if they were treated the same way as they treat tenants.

What utter drivel.

Even if a tenancy has a clause in that allows viewings,it is unenforceable as it's considered an unfair contract term.You have a right to quiet enjoyment and Landlords rights of entry are secondary to that unless it's an emergency.

If she doesn't want to allow viewings then she doesn't have to.

Period.

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CAB

'

The landlord’s rights of entry

Your landlord has a right to reasonable access to carry out repairs. What ‘reasonable access’ means depends on why your landlord needs to get access. For example, in an emergency, your landlord is entitled to immediate access to carry out any necessary work.

Your landlord also has a right to enter the property to inspect the state of repair or to empty a fuel slot meter, but they should always ask for your permission and should give you at least 24 hours notice.

If you are staying in lodgings where it is agreed that your landlord provides a room-cleaning service or where you share a room with other lodgers, your landlord can enter without permission.

Your landlord does not have a right to enter in any other circumstances unless they have a court order.

If you are having problems with your landlord who is entering the accommodation without the tenant’s permission, you should consult an experienced adviser, for example, at a Citizens Advice Bureau. To search for details of your nearest CAB, including those that can give advice by email, click on nearest CAB.'

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Even if a tenancy has a clause in that allows viewings,it is unenforceable as it's considered an unfair contract term.You have a right to quiet enjoyment and Landlords rights of entry are secondary to that unless it's an emergency.

If she doesn't want to allow viewings then she doesn't have to.

Would you care to cite the relevant case law?

All the guidance that I have read states that a term permitting viewing by the landlord or their agent, at reasonable times and with reasonable notice for a reasonable period of the tenancy is NOT necessarily unfair.

An unfair term might be "the tenant will permit the landlord or the landlord's agent access to view the property with prospective tenants for the purposes of reletting the property".

However, the term "On giving the tenant at least 24 hours notice in writing, to allow the landlord, or any person acting on behalf of the landlord, access to view the property, during normal working hours, accompanying a prospective tenant or purchaser of the property." is specifically given as an example of a fair term by the office of fair trading, in their guidance on unfair terms in tenancy agreements.

That said, what possible remedy would the landlord have, against such a minor breach in the last month of the tenancy? Penalty fees are unfair.

Edited by ChumpusRex

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That said, what possible remedy would the landlord have, against such a minor breach in the last month of the tenancy? Penalty fees are unfair.

The landlord can sue the tenant for financial loses incurred if the contract stipulates specifically that they are allowed to show prospective tenants round and the current tenant refuses unreasonably. Even if there is such a clause, they can't just let themselves in, even if they have a key, let alone break in and change the locks. Their only remedy is through the courts.

Sorry, it's a bit late to go hunting for case law.. I got this from the Practical Law Company which is pretty reliable.

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The landlord can sue the tenant for financial loses incurred if the contract stipulates specifically that they are allowed to show prospective tenants round and the current tenant refuses unreasonably.

They can try to sue, but they'd fail. The landlord would need to prove a loss which would involving proving that the person who was going to look around the flat would have definitely have taken it, and would definitely moved in on time and would have definitely paid the rent. Good luck with that.

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Would you care to cite the relevant case law?

All the guidance that I have read states that a term permitting viewing by the landlord or their agent, at reasonable times and with reasonable notice for a reasonable period of the tenancy is NOT necessarily unfair.

An unfair term might be "the tenant will permit the landlord or the landlord's agent access to view the property with prospective tenants for the purposes of reletting the property".

However, the term "On giving the tenant at least 24 hours notice in writing, to allow the landlord, or any person acting on behalf of the landlord, access to view the property, during normal working hours, accompanying a prospective tenant or purchaser of the property." is specifically given as an example of a fair term by the office of fair trading, in their guidance on unfair terms in tenancy agreements.

That said, what possible remedy would the landlord have, against such a minor breach in the last month of the tenancy? Penalty fees are unfair.

I can't cite the case law as I'm not a solicitor.

Any time I've had a landlord who's wanted access for viewings during the notice period,I provide a rough precy of the CAB guidance ie access for repairs/inspection,everything else needs a court order,and most LA's/LL's who know the law,leave you well alone.They all put these clauses in and it's laughable when they try and convince you that they'll hold in a court of law.You can't sign away a right granted under statute.

I've only had one occasion when my solicitor was needed to phone the LA and lay the law down and that was that.The call was that short he refused to bill me..

Sorry I can't be more helpful but it really irks me when you get these internet 'lawyers' trying to scare people into being bullied and intimidated by LL's and LA's.

I must state that I have on occasion allowed viewings when I liked the LA/LL and I was single,but having any old bod traipsing through a family meal is just plain acceptable and unfortunately,in general,the type of person drawn into the Estate Agency business,sees one admission as a sign of weakness.

In reality,the LL has no recourse at all under the law,which is why none of them have ever raised a pen against me or anyone I know.You do get the odd one who tries to hang onto the deposit but the TDS schemes are pretty fair.

Money talks and bull**** walks as they say.

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They can try to sue, but they'd fail. The landlord would need to prove a loss which would involving proving that the person who was going to look around the flat would have definitely have taken it, and would definitely moved in on time and would have definitely paid the rent. Good luck with that.

Absolutely.

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The landlord can sue the tenant for financial loses incurred if the contract stipulates specifically that they are allowed to show prospective tenants round and the current tenant refuses unreasonably. Even if there is such a clause, they can't just let themselves in, even if they have a key, let alone break in and change the locks. Their only remedy is through the courts.

Sorry, it's a bit late to go hunting for case law.. I got this from the Practical Law Company which is pretty reliable.

Statute grants you the right to 'quiet enjoyment' with the exception of reasonable inspections and repairs.It's that simple.

Edited by Sancho Panza

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