Landlord’s Right Of Entry

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!

364 Comments- join the conversation...

Showing 314 - 364 comments (out of 364)
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MissyD 12th April, 2014 @ 01:29

Hi, I really could do with some advise to tide me over for this weekend until I can get to chat to shelter.
I've had a few issues with the flat I've been renting for nearly 4 years, mainly damp. After years of them not listening to the damp issues I had within the property I brought the issue up with the council.
Since then I also experienced flooding from upstairs and also the guttering. Landlord has seen this either from photos or visiting themselves.
However, I had a email from them this evening that they need to come in to assess the repairs, since I wont be available when they want to come I've had to decline and mentioned another date I'd be available.
So far I've always let them in when they've needed to but as it's easter half term I'm a little busy trying to keep the kids entertained.
However, the landlord replied saying that they'll let themselves is. When I mentioned that I thought it's illegal without my consent the landlord quickly wrote that they have to right to enter the property when they need to and made me feel as though I was being unreasonable.
I've not heard back from them since trying to reply once again mentioning that I didn't give my consent as I wouldn't be available and they should possibly check online for information about the matter, I apologised but I haven't said I'll never let them in...
I think now my plans for going out will have to be put on hold as I keep feeling like they could turn up at any time now and I'm worried. Can I do anything to prevent the landlord 'letting' themselves in?
Thanks for any help

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James 12th April, 2014 @ 08:18

MissyD
See my posts 300 and 302 above. As long as your landlord has served the correct notice it is not necessary for him to receive your express consent to legally enter the property. For it to be illegal for him to enter you need to withdraw your consent i.e. you must tell him that he may not enter! In this circumstance he would have no right of entry (except in an emergency) and would be breaking the law if he did so. Of course if he decides to illegally enter your home then short of changing the locks or finding another way to prevent the door being opened you are rather limited in your options. If you are serious that you do not want him to enter you need to expressly withdraw your consent for him to enter and make it clear that now you have withdrawn your consent it is illegal for him to enter as he will be trespassing if he does. Offer alternative dates and try and be accommodating. It is normal for landlords to consider tenants who refuse entry as being unreasonable - sometimes they are - which is why finding a negotiated arrangement to both parties satisfaction is preferable to simply point blank exercising your rights.

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MissD 12th April, 2014 @ 20:52

Thanks for the speedy responce James, it wasn't that I was deliberately being obtrusive but I've already had to make myself available the following day for a surveyor already, I sent an email offering to be in later that day as I have to be honest, my kids are getting a bit distressed from all the disruption anyway (decorators, health visitor, management co. etc)
Luckily the landlords have been told me they now wont be able to attend until may, however I did state that I did not give consent for them to enter my property when I was not in but they seem to believe that what I say doesn't matter and as owners they have the right to enter with reasonable notice... Think I'll be visiting legal advise monday.
Thanks again!

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Sonja 12th April, 2014 @ 22:56

Hi James,

Thank you so much for your reply.

Firstly, regarding the toilet issue, I read a while ago on a council website that for I think it was four or five people or more there needs to be more than one toilet, or the toilet at least needs to be outside the bathroom and separate from the shower, and ours isn't. But in any case, that's not so much the issue, I just thought I'd explain myself.

Regarding our agreement, yes we all have separate contracts so I suppose you'd call it a HMO. However, we don't have locks on our rooms and never had, but I'm not sure if that makes much of a difference.

In any case, thank you so much for your help again, it's great to have things cleared up, even if it isn't quite the answer we were hoping for. I really appreciate it.

Kind regards,

Sonja.

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James 13th April, 2014 @ 07:41

MissyD - unfortunately many landlords - unlike the majority that post here - are still under the mistaken belief that as long as notice is given they can proceed regardless of any tenants wishes. Whether they know it or not, the law says differently!

Sonja - What you read on a council website is likely to be guidance/best practice - this does not necessarily mean it is a legal requirement. Given that it seems you rent in a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), you may want to check that your landlord has fulfilled the more onerous legal requirements regarding fire safety etc. The fact you don't have locks on your doors is also a potential security issue since the agent or anyone authorised by them can enter the communal areas with no notice and without locks on your rooms they then have access to your personal belongings.

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Anon 4 Legal Reasons 13th April, 2014 @ 13:28

Hi James
I'm still waiting to hear back from the Property Ombudsman so I'm not sure which way the decision will go regarding whether or not I am right that my landlord illegally entered my flat. I have gone back and checked the 1985 Act and it uses somewhat vague language. However, the fact that it was written in 1985 and has not been updated or amended since then would support my view that "giving written notice" means just that - hand delivering a paper document, as there was no email at that time and hand delivery (or signed-for delivery by post) is the only way to be certain that a person has received the document. Any other type of legal summons must be delivered in this way, email and regular un-registered post are not acceptable as their delivery cannot be validated. Also, I still find that mother's day/Sunday is not a "reasonable time" and further that if entry takes place a day later than it was scheduled for (voice mail date and raid date don't match up in my case), that this also negates any claim of 24 hour notice. Anyway, I will check back in and let you know once I get the Property Ombudsman's decision.

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MissyD 14th April, 2014 @ 12:00

Hi James, thougt I'd update you as I was in contact with shelter this morning, apparently they side with the landlords pov on right of entry which is a bit disconcerting.
I have asked that they double check that since every site online seems to offer advise to the contrary.

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AngryTenant 14th April, 2014 @ 13:45

My landlord keeps ringing asking that I allow people in to view the property as I am in the last month of my tenancy. I really don't feel comfortable with this. Can I refuse, even if it is in my tenancy agreement?

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James 14th April, 2014 @ 15:20

MissyD One area that the Shelter website seems surprisingly light on is Landlord Rights of Entry, however, the following is an extract from their page on letting agents (the same applies to landlords): 'The letting agent should give you at least 24 hours’ notice, and should not enter your home without your permission'

If anyone from Shelter advised you that your landlord can legally enter your home when you have said to him that he may not – quite simply, they are incorrect. So yes your landlord has a legal right of entry after giving you 24rs notice – but if then you tell him that he may not enter, then that legal right ends – no ifs, no buts – only in an emergency could he then legally enter. But this is not a matter of criminal law it is a civil matter which is why you’d be unlikely to get much response from the police unless the landlord forced his way in or became aggressive.

AngryTenant – the same applies – yes you can refuse, but you should try and be reasonable and understand that the landlord needs to be able rent their property after you leave. If your landlord is trying to do multiple viewings day after day then this may be excessive. Decide what you consider as reasonable and use that as a starting point of negotiation. With any luck and if you’re in a high demand area it may only take a few viewings before the property is let.

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AngryTenant 15th April, 2014 @ 07:18

I'm really not happy with people creeping around my home at the minute when I need to have satisfied a ridiculous list of demands to get my deposit back. My job is also long hours, so I don't want people coming to my home when I'm just in. I just want to know legally, can I say no. I leave on 1 May, so it's not as if the letting agent has a long time to wait to show people around.

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laura tennant 15th April, 2014 @ 14:11

Hi. Need advice! I signed a tennacy agreement in September 2013.
Everything fine up until January in which antisocial behaviour started occurring, gangs of 10-15 with bricks and balaclavas, wheely bins stolen and set on fire, week later my partners 500 pound bike got stolen, gangs trying to gain entrance to cars and looking through windows. Police phoned

Ive told my landlord I don't feel safe and want to terminate the contract, shes declined even though I have been negotiable, ive handed my notice in today and the agent said it won't be accepted and the landlord nis seeing a solicitor due to me breaching the contract. The police have gave w statement to my agent explaining I don't feel safe in my own home with my 2 yr old.

Also the landlord still comes to pick her mail up even though she doesn't live here, things that look like bank statements, also she's still having her DVLA tax disk sent here and coming for post as and when she pleases or sends a family member.

Please help!

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Evelina 2nd May, 2014 @ 16:29

Hi,

We are in month 10 of our tenancy agreement and landlord decided to sell the flat. We are okay with that and understand that viewing need to take place HOWEVER the very first one was carried out without our agreement. Luckily, I was home otherwise we wouldn't even know that this happened. So we complained to our agency who apologised and wait that different agency is dealing with selling the flat and they will make sure that we will be notified from now on. Then we came back from our holiday and our concierge told us that there was another viewing while we were out of the country and that they said that we were notified. Concierge had to give them the keys cos agent called the landlord and apparently concierge is obliged to do whatever landlord tells him.
Again, we were not notified in any way and it's even more disturbing since we were away and if something was gone missing we would only find out after coming back.

We had no problems whatsoever before all of this started. Not really sure what can be done now

Thank you!

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joseph crandell 11th May, 2014 @ 06:53

The law states u must request an inspection of your apartment
but I got a letter stating they're doing an inspection and for
no reason I've lived here for a month ?why is this necessary and
I'm guessing its legal cause I never ask for one /??I'm mean if its to look for damages there aren't any I mean I haven't even moved all my stuff in what can I do about this honestly it makes one feel discriminated

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James 12th May, 2014 @ 13:06

Evelina - the law says you need to be notified in writing. If you are out of the country for any length of time then notice could legally be served and with no response from you they can enter. Suggest you contact the agent and ask that you are notified by phone or email if you will not be at the property.

Joseph - are you renting in the UK - this is a UK based site. If you are renting in the UK then what you state about the law and inspections is I'm afraid incorrect.

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Wendy Dawson 12th May, 2014 @ 16:02

Hi
Please help.
We have a tenant that is refusing to let us in to do a gas safety check.Not sure why as they have been fine before. His last text said for us not to do it and is not replying to any correspondence. The gas safety is running out in the next few days. Would this be classed as an emergency entry or because he has said no we can't do it? I really do not want an expired gas safety check to compromise the landlord or our business but want to remain legal
Many thanks.

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Fauxkingphil 12th May, 2014 @ 16:59

Hi Wendy,

Simply send written notice (24hrs min prior to entry) stating that you (and/or the gas engineer) will be entering to conduct the gas safety checks. It is a legal requirement and in the tenants best interest.

They can not refuse entry for this.

I would take the opportunity to conduct a tenancy check at this point also. There is obviously a concerning reason why the tenant is being difficult (assuming you tell the full story)

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Kat 16th May, 2014 @ 20:50

I've had to hand my notice in because I have less then 6 weeks left of my pregnancy because after 3 month of calls they still haven't fixed the damp and mould in the flat which is mainly in the babies room. They have messed us around costing us extra in rent by giving us incorrect info on how to hand notice in and saying I'm not a tenant to our next tenants to mess up the process. They have the flat up on letting agencies now and I'm not even trying to make things hard for them I'm just not comfortable letting people I don't know in a place that has all my stuff in. What is my rights? Surely since I'm stilling paying rent il unt 29th June I have a right to deny entry to people I don't even know? If be worried they could steal something or the fact we already have to move while I'm heavily pregnant I don't need the extra hassle of having to be in to let people view the place??

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MissyD 16th May, 2014 @ 21:09

Hi, thought I'd update. Landlord keeps telling me that they'll let themselves in when im not available. This was also backed by an estate agents and when I asked again with shelter they still say "as long as there's been 24 hours notice there's not much you can do short of getting an injunction which no solicitor will give you as items not like they're letting themselves in every day"

I cant honestly believe it. Short of changing the locks for my remaining time here Im at there mercy it seems as im not being back up.

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Cardifflandlord 17th May, 2014 @ 06:49

MissyD,

If you say no then they are not allowed in assuming that it's not for something like a gas safety inspection (see post above), irrespective of whether they give you 24hrs notice or not. Assuming you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement it is YOUR home NOT the landlords or the agents or shelters. If they do try to gain entry you can sue them for trespass, although trespassers can only be prosecuted if they cause damage, and if they continue to contact you, you can sue them for harassment and I would contact your local citizens advice centre as it would appear shelter do not know what they are talking about.

I have to ask the question though, why are you so against them entering the premises to asses the damp and repairs that is affecting your life? Surely, you want this rectified asap? You are going to have to come to some compromise otherwise if you continue to deny access and then wish to take the matter further, the same question will be asked. Certainly, if you take them to court for them entering the premises to try to rectify a fault that is causing you distress then the magistrate is not going to be as lenient with you if you were actually co-operating in the matter.

I would also add that the landlords property is a major investment and they should want to keep it in good condition. If there is an issue with damp or water damage and you continue to refuse entry for them to repair it and further damage is caused, they may have a claim against you especially since the landlord has a LEGAL requirement to keep the structure of the property in good order.

Instead of coming on here, TALK to your landlord and come to a compromise regarding entry that suits both parties. It's not rocket science FFS!

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MissyD 17th May, 2014 @ 16:39

Hi, sorry if I didnt clarify. On only one occasion, I wasnt available, and ever since landlord has ended every request for entry by stating that the will allow themselves in if im not available. Its making me feel threatened especially as they sstarted this behaviour after serving me with notice. The request for entry was to assess redecorating rathervthen deal with damp so I dont understand the pressure. They saw it fit renting for 10 years (past tenants only residing here for a maximum of a year) with no alterations prior to me moving here.
Thank you for backing up previous explination though, Ill try to get to cab next week. Only reason I keep trying to clarrify is because no other party has backed up this. I wish I could talk to the landlord but it doesnt seem possible, theyve been ignoring my request for copies of the survey. I just hate to think of anyone else going through similar issues after ive left.

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Suzyd 19th May, 2014 @ 20:13

I have a short assured tenancy with 4 others which ends at the end of July. Despite landlord not dealing with our complaints about state of the flat previously he has now decided to start fixing and painting the internal windows and woodwork ready for the next tennants. He has asked us when we are going to be on holiday though most of us do not plan to be away until the end of the lease. The workman has started on one of the rooms where the person has gone on holiday and is in daily for over a week now also keeps asking when he can get into our rooms. Do we have to allow this.

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James 19th May, 2014 @ 21:12

Suzyd - If this is redecorating and sprucing up rather than necessary maintenance then in short, no you don't, but depending on your overall view of the amount of work, you may want to come to a negotiated arrangement. The landlord should be allowed access to undertake necessary maintenance of the property but this should not be to the significant detriment of the tenant. For simple redecorating it is not for the tenant to 'vacate' areas of the property they are renting to allow this to happen - or indeed to be put under any pressure to do so. If the work is causing a significant or prolonged loss of amenity in the space you are paying for then it may be appropriate for a reasonable reduction in rent to be arranged while the work is being undertaken. This would need to be discussed between tenant and landlord. I am not at all advocating an attempt to hold your landlord to ransom but if the work is simply a benefit to the landlord and causing a significant detriment to the tenant then such an arrangement is justified. You may in the end just not want your home invaded by painters and decorators, in which case you could simply refuse entry, but as always, negotiating amicably with your landlord is always preferable in the first instance.

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Marine 23rd May, 2014 @ 07:15

Hi, our landlord has made us aware that he will move back in the property at the end of our fixed tenancy agreement in sepember but we have a baby due at the sale time which means that we are trying to be released from the agreement early. The estate agent is not helping us or communicating our demand to the landlords.
Also the estate agent gave a key to a tradesman last month who did let himself in the property without giving us prior notice. I was at home and saw the door opening. I don't know what could have happen if i wasn't in. Is that considered a breach of contract and could it be a good reason to end the tenancy early?

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Mandy 3rd June, 2014 @ 09:06

Hi, I am about to move area. The house I will be moving to comes with my job, and is currently being rented, until a week or so before I move in. The property needs new windows and doors fitting but the tenants have refused for the landlord to do this work before they leave, which is unfortunate but I do understand. However they are refusing access to a local firm to even come and measure up, so the order can be submitted. Is this within their rights, even if they are give appropriate notice? I have very limited time before I start work in a new job and settle the children into school and as the current tenants have several dogs, we are needing to redecorate throughout as it is - having to wait 6-8 weeks for the order of new windows and doors seem an unnecessary delay, and a distressing disturbance my family just after we've moved in, when this could be completed in the time that the property will be empty. Any help or advice? Thanks

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James 3rd June, 2014 @ 09:25

Mandy

You don't really explain if you're the new/current owner or a new tenant of the property. Either way it makes little difference. If the tenant refuses entry there is little you can do and yes it is within their rights. That said amicable negotiation and incentivisation can go a long way to settle such matters. Are you negotiating with the tenants directly or through an agent? If through an agent bear in mind that many tenants view agents as faceless lowlifes and are more likely to be awkward with them rather than a person - even the landlord - that they can empathise with.

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David 3rd June, 2014 @ 13:59

I would like to raise one question, this is our last 2 month before moving out, however, agent arrange more than 15 time viewing per week, and so far no one want to rent this property . Do I have a right to say no for letting them comes in, 15 times is too much for us.

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Kirsty 3rd June, 2014 @ 22:18

Advice needed
My landlord served me wiv a section 21 notice after I coat her entering the property wiv out 24 hours notice r any permission, it has come 2 the end of the notice (4th 2morrow) but there has been a delay on my new house so I get the keys 2morrow, so I hav asked if it's ok 2 stay a few more day still as a paying tenant on a day rate as I don't want 2 leave in a rush n b as 2 leave it tidy, which they hav agreed, but now they r sayin they can enter wiv out permission 2 take some pics! Can they do this? Wot r my rights now r do I still hav normal rights? Please help

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James 4th June, 2014 @ 06:59

David

You have the right to quiet enjoyment regardless of the time left to run on your tenancy. If this were me I'd refuse viewings until the last month.

Kirsty

The property is still your home and your rights remain unchanged. A bit of give and take though?

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Kirsty 4th June, 2014 @ 07:42

I have always been right wiv them, until my landlord let her self in while I was in the property n she thought I was at wrk, confronted her about it the she gave me a notice, been living wiv out smoke alarms in a flat 4 10 months n she wasn't in a rush 2 finish the jobs which were promised 2 do in the 1st month of me moving in, since the notice she has done notin but hassle me, now she is sayin she can cum in wiv r wiv out my permission, when I have told her they can't cum in unless I am in the property

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Paranoid 8th June, 2014 @ 18:49

This is an awful admission, but I have a law degree and I know I'm entitled to quiet enjoyment, but I'm not sure whether I'm overreacting and pointing this out to my landlady and her family (again!) won't just make things worse. I have previously over the years had to tell them they can't just turn up when they feel like it, especially when I once opened my curtains to find her son on a ladder up against my bedroom window. I've been a tenant here for nearly 6 years and when I moved in her son (who told me at the time it was his house and took the rent for over 3 years!) promised to clear the garden which was in a real state. The landlady only 4 weeks ago asked me to pay to have this done, which I refused as his promise to do so was pre-signing the tenancy. So she has had someone in sporadically over the past 3 weeks, turning up and letting himself into the garden area at random times.

A couple of weekends ago I heard the 'gardener' screaming and shouting, but not in English and I went to see if he was okay in case he'd hurt himself but he didn't speak English at all. The landlady and her family are also turning up at random times, letting themselves into the garden and arguing with him, but not in a language that I speak. They've done this before over the one repair they themselves made to the property (I've done/paid for all of the rest from holes in the walls, to damp, to misaligned doors) they got someone that spoke no English and didn't speak their language but luckily he spoke a language that one of my friends speaks so I got on well with him; until the landlady refused to pay him the promised price because his work was "not good" (it was fine and I would've backed him).

I've been sneaking out of my own home when they're in my garden because I feel my privacy is violated. I feel uncomfortable all of the time and on edge. They tried my back door, which leads into my bathroom, one afternoon whilst I was in the front room and now I'm on edge taking a bath despite the door being locked from the inside (key in lock). Needless to say, it is disconcerting to hear strangers shouting when you sit on the toilet. They lit a bonfire in my garden last Monday at 4:50pm and I burst into tears because I came home to find it and my bedroom window was open letting the stinky smoke in. I'm not sure whether I'm being overly sensitive, whether it's partly due to a difference in cultural values or whether I'm plain having a nervous breakdown in general. I know there's no qualified definition of what amounts to "quiet possession" and that I find this family just really difficult to deal with at the best of times and I don't want to have to move (I went for location over landlord characteristics!).

I just hate being a nervous wreck, sneaking around, peering through the corner of windows to find people staring straight back at me and taking showers at midnight. I've been telling myself that it can only be temporary and that it'll be best if I stay out of it and just avoid them. Plus they have this awful habit of not understanding English when it suits them. I am usually a perfectly rational 30something professional with a 7 year old child, but am I wrong to feel so violated?

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James 12th June, 2014 @ 14:38

Paranoid (Indeed!)
I believe that as the law stands, the process for a landlord or their agent to follow for gaining entry applies to that part of your home which lies behind your front (or back) door and not to the external areas of the property. There may be other issues here, potentially related to loss of amenity etc., but I don’t believe that relates to a landlord’s legal right of entry. The concerns you describe should be addressed to your landlord with a request that his contractor is more considerate of your presence in the house.

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Anonjohn 13th June, 2014 @ 05:14

I'm in an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement, in a student house with a landlord who has been awkward from the start (told us at the beginning that he was charging half-rent for the first two months, because he would be requiring entry to decorate and repair, and this would affect the way we lived in it - a totally fair deal, until we signed the contract, and he refused to hand keys over until two months after the contract start-date. Turns out he had behaved within the contract, but a totally dick move to tell a lie like that, meaning we were without accommodation for the first two months of the contract).

The contract we have signed stipulates that rent must be paid on the 1st of each month (there was no room for negotiation on that) and that "fees" (unspecified) will be charged for late payment of rent. On a few occasions I have needed a few extra days to pay rent, and informed him (e.g. I'll have to pay you rent on payday). Sometimes he has been reasonable on this issue, but other times he has come round to the house without notice, or made lots of phone calls and texts. He has always received his rent (from all tenants) within the month that the rent is due for.

This month is our last - I didn't have the full month's amount until I next get paid. I told him I didn't have it yet, apologised, and politely gave him the date I'd have it by, at which point he said it was unacceptable and gave me a closer deadline. I immediately made an online payment for half of the rent, and sent him a text message (the way he prefers to communicate) informing him I'd given him everything I had until my next payday.

He got really buzzed off and sent text messages saying that he was enforcing late penalties of £30 a week, starting from two weeks ago. So, by his logic, by the time he informed me of the penalties, I already owed him £60, and as of now, owe him £90; all within a 24-hour period. (That bit was perhaps in the wrong section of this website, but could you advise anyway?)

His last communication was a statement (not a request), that he would be in the city to talk to me about it in person. We haven't arranged a meeting at the house or anything else, and I'm pretty sure that he will (as he has before) let himself in without a 24-hour period of notice, or permission, or informing the other tenants of the house.

If he enters the house with his key, it is too late to refuse entry. What are my rights from that point?

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James 13th June, 2014 @ 09:39

Anonjohn
Are all occupants on the same AST or do you each have individual ASTs for your respective rooms? If the former, the answer to your last question is simple - tell him to leave the property immediately as he is trespassing and has no right to be there. You could phone the police and tell them there's an intruder and start yelling at your landlord when they turn up – they’ll probably tell him to leave as his illegal presence in the house is causing a breach of the peace - but don't expect them to take action as trespass is a civil matter.
As for the late rent charges, you'd be a fool to pay them - let your landlord follow the correct channels for rent arrears or recover them through the courts if he believes he is due them. Remember anything can be written in a contract but that does not automatically make it enforceable or legally binding just because you happened to have signed it.

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Anonjohn 13th June, 2014 @ 15:03

James,

Thanks for your advice and prompt reply.
We are all on the same AST, but we each have individual, locked rooms, each have our own guarantor, and each pay our rent directly to the landlord individually - this leaves us confused sometimes as to what the craic is regarding being joint or individual. But, on the contract, we are all together on the same one.

Thank you James. If he continues to harass, I'll be doing that.
I would have thought that landlords, whilst this is their livelihood and they need their money, would be understanding about rent not being available in full on the first of the month, especially with students, and especially with the rent being as extortionate as it is.

Ours isn't, and seems to get quite angry at not being paid straight away.

With regards the late payments, he has a £200 deposit from each of us and will threaten to take it out of that if I refuse to pay the fees. What then? Will I have to take him to court to get my money back?

Thanks for your help.

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James 13th June, 2014 @ 15:32

Hmm, OK, so the setup seems like an HMO but the contract not. If one person leaves the house do the other occupants need to cover their rent? - if so it's unlikely to be an HMO. If not it could be argued to be an HMO which changes your landlord's right of entry into communal areas. But only having one contract? - sounds like a bit of a mess - is the LL an amateur?

If it turns out you are in an HMO you may want to check the landlord has fulfilled his more stringent obligations regarding fire safety etc.

Regarding your deposit, remember that your landlord is legally obliged to use the Deposit Protection Service to hold your deposit - you should have been provided with information about this and also given a reference number or similar. The DPS are there to prevent landlords from withholding your deposit without good reason - in the event of a dispute they should arbitrate and come to a decision based on information provided by both parties - hence the reason to keep a detailed log of any infringements on the part of your landlord with dates/times and communications.

Also, while having tenants that don't pay their rent on time may be frustrating (remember he may have a mortgage payment which goes out on the 2nd) there are correct channels to follow and becoming abusive or threatening is not one of them.

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Gloria 19th June, 2014 @ 16:35

hello the lady that I am renting from want to sell the house.my lease is up in oct. she wants to take pictures .with all my things in there, can she do it. please help me.

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Jan 20th June, 2014 @ 20:06

Hi, I'm a landlord rather than a tenant. I allowed a very young (16 years old) single mum to moved into one of my properties a month ago. There were a few small jobs that still needed doing but I included a clause in the tenancy agreement that my maintenance man (my dad) would be calling at the house several times a week until the jobs were done. She agreed to this. When I'd made arrangements for him to call (and the gas man to do the safety cert)on several occasions and she was either out or still in bed and not answering the door, I told her that my dad would be using my key to enter the property. She agreed to this. On entering the property, after only two weeks, he began to tell me that the house was filthy (bin bags left open in kitchen, bin bags ripped open in yard, baby nappies thrown open in yard, cigarette stumps put out on laminate flooring, uncleaned oven, filthy toilet, etc)plus she had bought a puppy and the tenancy agreement stipulates no pets (without permission). I rang her to arrange to do a house inspection, which I did, telling her that the house as not being kept clean enough and that she was in breach of her tenancy agreement. She agreed to keep it cleaner. My dad then told me that it was no better, in fact it was worse, so I wrote to her and had a colleague hand deliver the letter, informing her that I would be calling one day this week to do another house inspection. I text her two days ago to say that I would be calling tonight at 3.45. When I arrived, she was not in, but my dad was working there so he let me in. I was shocked at how dirty and untidy it was, so I text her to say what I'd found and that once again, she was in breach of her tenancy agreement. She then text to say I shouldn't have keys and had no right to go in and that she was really busy and hadn't had time to clean (she doesn't work. I told her that if things didn't improve, I would give her notice after another three months so that she leaves at the end of her 6 month tenancy. She asked if she could have her deposit back, to which I responded yes providing the house was clean and tidy. Where do I stand in terms of entering the property providing I've given her notice? I've read everything above. I'm really concerned that she will allow the house to get worse and worse (as once happened to me and there were 35 bin bags, beds, furniture, etc just left in the yard!). I want to leave her to live in peace, but at the same time, I've worked really hard to build up my portfolio of 10 properties and seem to keep ending up with tenants that either skip not paying the rent or absolutely trash the house!

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Lynette 2nd July, 2014 @ 19:34

Re: landlords agents entering / unlocking doors withour permission

Can anyone advise?

I rent from a landlord who uses a letting agent. The property is inspected every three months and up till now they have always been amenable to giving me an appointment time when I could be there.

Yesterday I had an appointment for 3:30 I arrived home at 3:20 to find the letting agent in the house. I am quite upset as they do not have my permission to be there when I am not. I received an e mail today telling me that when they give you an appointment time they mean that they could be an hour earlier or later than that time. This means that every time they want to do a property inspection I would need to take half a day off work. I feel that this is unreasonable and that they are simply trying to get me to concede to letting them in without me being there.

Any advice? I have lived here for 15 month no other problems until now.

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Delphine 15th July, 2014 @ 03:03

Hi James,
thanks for this very interesting article. I hope you or someone can help me in the quite peculiar situation I'm in.
I'm renting a flat (since last September) through an agency and have expressed ten days ago that I did not wish to renew the contract for another year. The reason is mostly because I feel like the agency is very intrusive. I have found out several times that they have entered the flat while I was out and it would not be rare when they opened the door without having given me any notice.
Anyway, I still have 2 months to live here and the already organized viewings (they started the day after I told them not to renew the contract) and they are becoming more and more frequent. Two of them were "surprise viewings".
I expressed in an email how upset I was about their unprofessional manners. My sister is working nights so I asked not to arrange viewings in the morning and asked if they could make them less frequently as we have family visiting for the holiday, this is not convenient. Anyway, their reply was :

I apologise that on two occasions the negotiator has not given you sufficient notice of an intended viewing; this is not normal and I can only say sorry about this.

I have since spoken with all negotiators regarding this and moving forward I can assure you that a minimum of 24 hours written notice is served to you of any intended viewing.

While I can appreciate that you are still residing within the property we have been instructed by the owner to start showing the property to find new tenants.

Today I have asked the negotiators to cancel the viewings before 3pm as per your request, but with respect to the ongoing viewings we simply cannot limit the viewings or only do viewings after 3pm.

Contractually we are obliged to give you 24 hours written notice of any intended viewings providing they are at reasonable hours of the day. From here on I can again assure you that the negotiators will give you 24 hours written notice of any intended viewing but intended viewing but will need to gain access during the day and hours of 9am - 7pm.

It has also come to my attention that it appears that there are 3 beds in the property, while there are only 2 tenants. Are you able to clarify this ?

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me.

I am ready to allow viewings, but everyday/all day is too much. Am I wrong to feel like my privacy is not respected ? It just feels like they are trying to evict us from our flat, the end of the message refers to an inflatable mattress we put for our family visiting for a few weeks. Should I read that as a hidden threat ?
Sorry for the long message, but I really don't know how I should act in the future.

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James 15th July, 2014 @ 09:26

Hi Delphine

First, just to clarify I do not run this blog and have not written these articles - I am simply a contributor to the comments.

Your situation is not that peculiar but your first mistake was handing your notice before the required month. While that hasn't helped you it doesn't change the fundamentals as they stand. The response from the agent is straight down the line and as expected - by the tone they have implicitly acknowledged they should not have undertaken the viewings without giving notice and they go on in the normal manner as to how they wish things to work in the future.

I'm not sure why you think they are trying to 'Evict' you - they are simply just playing the normal agent routine. I'm not sure what you understand about the eviction process, but I guarantee, if you're within your fixed term period, there is NOTHING you or the agent could do to legally enable them to gain possession of the property within the next two/three months - legally it is your home. As for the comment on the air mattress - I suggest you ignore it and leave it inflated. If they mention it again simply inflate another one. Once you've run out of mattresses you can respond saying it is where your imaginary friends sleep! Ultimately don't feel you have to justify yourself to these people - you do not!

You don't state how many viewings there have been - what do they average over a week? As for your right in terms of these they need to accommodate both sides. Clearly the Landlord wants to secure a new tenant but that should not be to the significant detriment of your quiet enjoyment of your home. And it is YOUR home not theirs and as stated in numerous posts above you have the right to refuse entry for viewings you do not wish to take place. Believe me the agents will shout, stamp their feet and cry like a toddler and likely write threatening emails containing all sorts of spurious 'facts' and quotes from your tenancy agreement, but ultimately No means No.

I am not at all advocating being awkward for the sake of it - the best approach is always to negotiate amicably with the agent and find a compromise - but stand your ground if they get pushy, when they realise you are serious they will likely be more accommodating. I'm not sure how buoyant the rental market is where you're living but if places are quite sought after then you may not have to wait long before a new tenant is found and the viewings should cease.

Also they cannot just give you 24hours notice that viewings may occur 'sometime' between 9am and 7pm the next day - they should give you a time and they should stick to it. Be firm on this and do not allow them to push you around - as above if they start being pushy, rude or awkward your 'No' should soon change that attitude.

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Joe 15th July, 2014 @ 12:31

Hi,

I have a tenancy agreement which does not expire until December 2017 and I wish to remain in the property until the agreement expires. My landlady passed away last year and the property has been inherited by her son and daughter. I allowed 2 valuation surveys to be carried out last year and have just been given a verbal message(by another tenant)that another valuation is to be carried out next tuesday at 1pm.
I am annoyed by the fact that nobody has contacted me directly to arrange a mutually acceptable time/date(again!)this happened last year and I voiced my objections then!
Also I fail to understand, when I have no intention of vacating the premises until my contract expires in 3 and a half years, what relevance a valuation has now.
During the last 3 years of my tenancy it has been impossible(even with the support of Shelter and my local authority)to get my landlords to carry out any repairs whatsoever to the property, even those deemed by Shelter to be of the highest importance on their "scale of urgency".
Can I refuse access legally?

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Fauxkingphil 15th July, 2014 @ 13:45

James I always read your responses in admiration and have learnt much from your POV. However I must raise concern when it comes to a point you made in response to Delphines post.

A LL or representing agent has a duty of care in regards fire regulations and or overoccupancy obligations, if my appointed agent reported they were observing 'extra places for sleep' I as a Landlord would be concerned For the safety of not only my tenants welfare but also the investment. It is this reason a legal tenancy agreement is drafted and agreed at the start of occupancy.

Extra persons residing at an address is a breach of the initial agreement. Althou any reasonable agent or LL would turn a blind eye for the odd guest if as a one off.

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Fauxkingphil 15th July, 2014 @ 14:37

Joe,

I am assuming you share this property with other tenants? If so you have exclusive rights to your bed room but not shared area.

Only the people requesting the valuation knows the reasons but I wonder if it just for a market appraisal? It makes sense if the assets are in probate stages of any will your LL may have left.

The agreement you mention is not unheard of but longer term agreements do not fall under the AST rules. Without reading your agreement, it is impossible to comment furthur. I do wonder however if the property is in such poor state of disrepair (according to shelter) then why not take this opportunity to find somewhere else?

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James 15th July, 2014 @ 15:17

Fauxkingphil - Thanks and yes I understand your concern from a LL's perspective and in terms of over occupation or breach of tenancy agreement then clearly the Landlord would expect their agent to raise such an issue. My response to Delphine was admittedly somewhat flippant, partly due to my mischievous side wanting to bait the agent with a sea of inflated Li-Los but also because the agent is asking a question which regardless of the answer, in reality cannot be followed through with sanction. i.e. Delphine has handed her notice and intends to leave in the next two months - even if she responded: 'yes I sub-let the airbed to my good friend Ernie', apart from pre-empting a Section 8 possession order with no plausible possibility of being completed in time, then what to do? So yes, I do accept the importance of the question, but I would still suggest there is no specific obligation for the question to be answered - to take it to a ridiculous conclusion if the question was raised and not answered after say month one of a fixed term tenancy and the tenant continued to maintain an inflated airbed in their room simply because they wanted to, then what is the chance of a court granting the landlord possession over an obstinate tenant and that 'evidence' alone - I'm willing to stand corrected but I'd wager a significant 'deposit' on the answer being Zero.

Perhaps my general approach to agents could be perceived as awkward or pedantic but I also think a little context is needed here - while the additional bed could suggest a breach of the tenancy agreement, it is not directly a breach of the law - unlike the agent's entry without notice on what appears to have been at least two occasions!

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Fauxkingphil 15th July, 2014 @ 16:13

Your POV and reasoning is as sound as ever James.

There is always two sides to every story.

I would always advise anyone reading this forum regardless of background to work with the other party. Co-operation is the best way forward, failing that awkwardness will probably be met with furthur.

Buying, letting, renting does not need to be awkward, complicated or frustrating sadly it is the people, parties involved that can make it so.

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Joe 15th July, 2014 @ 16:49

Fauxkingphil

Hi thanks for your previous reply, in response to your comments I am the sole tenant of a 2 bedroomed detached property in a rural area(the other tenant I mentioned rents the farm land adjacent to my property). The reason for my not taking advantage of this opportunity to move on is 2 fold

1. I have invested a substantial amount of my own money in the property installing a kitchen as there was a room with a sink but nothing else! I have also installed a bathroom as the one in place I wouldn't have washed my dog in!

2.As you may have gathered from my first point properties to rent in my area are very few and far between.

I agreed with my landlady when I moved into the property that I would carry out substantial work if she had the work done which the local authority had insisted be done. I kept my side of the bargain but unfortunately she died before keeping her side.

I am on a long term lease but seem to be treated as if it is just short term. I have allowed 2 or possibly 3 separate viewings for valuation for probate etc.

I do not intend to be home for the appointment(which officially I've had no notification of)and the doors will be locked and curtains closed. I don't see why they need this so soon after the others or 3 years 5 months before my tenancy expires.

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Delphine 15th July, 2014 @ 18:18

Thank you for your answers.
I think I forgot to say that I had 2 months notice.

The problem is that they have been entering the flat without notice several times during our tenancy and would only apologize if I ask for explanations. I think I misused the word "eviction", I meant that I have the feeling that they are trying to push us to leave the flat before the end of our tenancy.

We had about ten viewings since the fifth of july (including the two that were not expected), I was okay with it at first, but they are trying to make me believe I have to accept viewings all day and everyday. Yesterday they arranged 5 viewings and there was one today.
I don't want to refuse all access to the flat, I would just like them to respect my privacy and maybe I could suggest a schedule for the viewings (for example on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 3p.m. to 6p.m. so that I can tidy and feel respected).

For the mattress, I think I will just tell them the truth as I don't feel like I have anything to blame myself for and I can understand their concern as a letting agency (but then, why did they wait that I complain about their behaviour to talk about this ?)

But anyway thank you for your answers, this is really helpful.

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Fauxkingphil 15th July, 2014 @ 19:17

Joe,

Firstly in regards access, read James post. Ultimatly if you do not grant access no one should enter but take note of mine also -Agrevation usually leads to furthur.

Secondly, I would have a lawyer check your tenancy agreement or perhaps someone else may comment in regards to longer agreements?. I am under the impression anything other than AST can be dissolved with not too much effort.

If I were you I would be trying to ascertain the new owners future wishes. I guess the other tenant on the same land is in the same boat?

Sadly I am under the impression that any previous agreements and good will through past improvements may be lost if the new owners have different ideas.

Good luck, I do hope things work out for you.

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Joe 16th July, 2014 @ 10:54

Fauxkingphil.

Thanks again for your prompt reply. In response to the points you raise

1. In relation to my contract, it has been checked both by my new landlords lawyer and Shelter and I cannot be evicted until the tenancy comes to an end as long as my rent continues to be paid. They(my new landlords)made it abundantly clear as soon as their mother died that they expected me to vacate the premises.

2. Upon realisation that I had no intention of moving out and they had no legal grounds to evict me they have been very un-cooperative and to be honest down-right unpleasant. If I thought this viewing was to enable the property to be sold I would be most happy to allow the viewing in the hope that the purchasers turn out to be better landlords as they would struggle to be worse!

3. The other tenant only rents land so I assume his tenancy is commercial and would come under different regulations.

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Theo 19th July, 2014 @ 06:55

Good day my contract ends on the 30th of September and my landlord wants to sell the property so he will not re-new. We have the usual clause to allow viewings during the last two months of the contract however my wife is expecting a baby any day now. As you can understand I don't want strange people around with a newborn baby at home. Can i refuse entry even though i have agreed to the viewings clause?

Many thanks for your help

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