Landlord’s Right Of Entry
It is in fact illegal for a landlord or agent to enter their property without agreement from the tenant.
The office of fair trading document oft356 reads as follows:
3.32 We would object to a provision giving the landlord an excessive right to enter the rented property. Under any kind of lease or tenancy, a landlord is required by common law to allow his tenants ‘exclusive possession’ and ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the premises during the tenancy. In other words, tenants must be free from unwarranted intrusion by anyone, including the landlord. Landlords are unfairly disregarding that basic obligation if they reserve a right to enter the property without giving reasonable notice or getting the tenant’s consent, except for good reason.
Irrespective of what maybe written in the agreed contract between a landlord and a tenant e.g. a clause that states the landlord is allowed to enter the property without permission; the law will ultimately overrule the clause because it would be seen as unfair and therefore void. Not even a contract will help a landlord in court if he/she steps into their property thinking they can do so because of what is agreed in a contract.
A landlord does have the right to ‘reasonable’ access to carry out repairs for which they are responsible, but they still always need to ask for the tenant’s permission, and give at least 24 hours notice.
A tenant has the right to live without unnecessary interference from the landlord. Most tenants have the right to prevent the landlord from entering the premises unless they’re specifically given permission. If a landlord disregards the law and enters the property without permission, they could be prosecuted for “harassment”
The law that sets out the definition of harassment in this context is the Protection from Eviction Act 1977::
The landlord of a residential occupier or an agent of the landlord shall be guilty of an offence if—
(a) he does acts likely to interfere with the peace or comfort of the residential occupier or members of his household, or
(b) he persistently withdraws or withholds services reasonably required for the occupation of the premises in question as a residence,
and (in either case) he knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, that that conduct is likely to cause the residential occupier to give up the occupation of the whole or part of the premises or to refrain from exercising any right or pursuing any remedy in respect of the whole or part of the premises.
The important take away for landlords, just because you don’t believe your actions to be a form of harassment, it doesn’t mean that the law would agree with you. So be diligent.
Some of the most common complaints of landlord harassment that I hear about are as follows:
- My landlords keeps calling me for rent
- My landlord wants an inspection every month, it’s too much
- My landlord keeps threatening to throw me out unless I pay rent
- My landlord keeps entering the property without my permission
In reality, it can often be difficult to prosecute a landlord for harassment. Harressment cases are usually handled by the local authrity, not the police. Most of the high damages are awarded in civil cases, where the tenant has taken the landlord to court for breaking their statutory right of Quiet Enjoyment This means that the landlord should leave tenants to live in the property in peace!
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