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!

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392 Comments- join the conversation...

Showing 342 - 392 comments (out of 392)
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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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Diza 30th July, 2014 @ 23:23

Just wish to clarify, landlord has served section 21 eviction notice, wishes to gain entry into the property to undertake repairs.

I realise this has been gone over so many times in that landlord has right of entry given 24 hours written notice unless a tenant has explicitly removed this right, however, there seems very little in back up from either CAB or Shelter. Both are very much of the opinion "there's not much you can do about it"

There's no where else for me to move to and I'm playing the waiting game with the council's mercy.

No offer of any alternative accommodation has been made for the time during these repairs. I have two small children and no friends/relatives I could possibly stay at for even a day.

Also, I'm hoping that I can somehow buy more time to reside in the property since the deposit was possibly done incorrectly (re superstrike?)so LL will have to redo section 21. Could the court look unfavourably on me if I refuse entry for decorative repairs? Would I perhaps be better off allowing some decorative work to go ahead? Although these works would stop me using accessing/kitchen/bathroom for upwards of 3 days. I don't honestly see why they can't wait until they've gotten me out but that's the money making game I suppose.

Realise the section 21 & court process is a slightly different area to right of entry but I seem to be facing an all too common revenge eviction and I really have no where else to vent or get ideas.

Thank you for any help!

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James 31st July, 2014 @ 07:51

Diza

There is little you can do I'm afraid. But do ensure the landlord has followed the correct procedure under the Section 21 to gain possession - it will be invalidated if he has not. Also according to gov.uk (I wasn't aware of this before I read it there) a Section 21 cannot be used to gain possession if your deposit is not held with the Deposit Protection Scheme, so that is something you should definitely investigate further.

As to whether you choose to allow entry or not, I'm doubtful that actions you take re. access would significantly change the outcome. Remember the landlord needs no reason to gain possession under a Section 21 - it is a simple process. It sounds like your best bet is to start looking for another property to rent. You can of course stick it out to the bitter end (physical eviction) but although that may give you extra time and possibly be delayed a number of times due to you caring for your children - are you really willing to start a battlefront at your front door which is likely to end in an outcome not of your choosing?

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lollypop 11th August, 2014 @ 19:18

Hi,
I'm a LL and whilst the comments seem to mostly aimed at LL's gaining entry without permission I am in a dilemma.

I gave my tenants their appropriate 2 months notice (they are in their first 6 months Short Hold tenancy agreement) as I need to move back into my property. (I'm not sure who is causing me trouble here.. the agents I employ or the tenants themselves, as I've never had any direct contact with the tenants).... From the beginning...
The tenants pointed out some damp issues in one of the rooms, I instructed my agents to arrange for a survey to be done at £75. Two weeks later whilst informing the agents that I would be serving notice, I asked if it had been done or when the appointment would be. They responded that it hadn't been done and would be best not to do it now as the tenants may not be willing to allow someone entry. The tenants also requested early release from their contract,(I am also a tenant in another area) I said that I would release them 1 week early as financially it would cost me too much to release them any earlier than that (I'd be paying for 2 properties for over a month). The agents proceeded to email me with what the tenant may or may not do if I didn't release them earlier. eg just leave and not pay rent or not leave at all. I ignored that email!! the next email I received said the tenants agreed to being released one week early (leaving date:25th Aug) however, they would be moving house on 15th Aug and handing keys in on 20th Aug. Based on this information I have arranged for the survey to be done on 22nd Aug, expecting I will be able to gain entry at this point. Today I received an email from agent saying," I hope this finds you well.
As previously discussed, the tenants of * *** St are due to vacate on Monday 25th August 2014. Unfortunately as this is a Bank Holiday and the office is not open we will be unable to perform a check out on this day, therefore we have discussed with the tenants that upon the vacation of the property on the Monday, they will return the keys through our letter box and we will carry out our check out inspection on the Tuesday morning and we will let you know of our findings."

I have called the agents to find out if there has been a change of plan since the last email as they said they would be handing in the keys on 20th Aug. The agents were very rude to me and told me that if I wanted to go in on 22nd Aug I have to be careful because if the tenants haven't handed the keys in I can't gain entry.

I am assuming the agents will either tell the tenants not to hand the keys in until 25th or will keep the keys until 25th and not let me know.

Any ideas how I can get around this? I will be travelling 180miles to the property with nowhere to stay if I can't get in. Also if I send a 24hrs notice period to the tenants directly, should I wait until the last moment to do this or give more notice in writing?

Sorry it's soooo long! I hope someone has some ideas that may help.

Lollypop

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lollypop 11th August, 2014 @ 19:44

Oh and if I do go into the property without permission is there anything they can do? given that their agreement will run out 3 days later and that the house will be empty of their belongings?

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Tom 12th August, 2014 @ 00:15

Well in worst case, the tenants are in, you enter the property and will act in self-defense.
I had the situation before. The agents broke in with a "management key" against my will, let the door unlocked. As I came back I terminated the contract with immediate affect.
Well 3 days later they sent their check-out company in. But want that I have to pay for additional two weeks.
Well, so I informed the police about the check out company, stealing water and electricty. Result was the lady from the checkout company is found guilty of a crime.

My advice is: Call the tenants and tell them, they must give you the keys and ask for their permission.

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buttercup 15th August, 2014 @ 21:43

Hello,

I'm a tenant, I've been in my current accommodation for almost a year and the letting agent carries out an inspection every three months. The next inspection is due and I have requested that they schedule it at a time when I can be present, and have suggested a wide range of times when they could conveniently schedule it.

The letting agent insists they cannot schedule a specific time for the inspection as they say they require a large window of time on the given day during which they can access whenever they please. As it will take place on a working day, this makes it impossible for me to make arrangements to be at home when they call. They say that if I am not in when they turn up they will enter the property and carry out the inspection any way, despite me telling them I don't give them permission to enter unless I am present.

I assume that they are not legally allowed to do this, however they seem intent on doing it any way. Is there anything I can do to stop them entering? Is there anything that I can do retrospectively if they enter without my permission?

Thanks for any help!

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Tom 15th August, 2014 @ 21:53

Hi Buttercup.

Well u can change the locks. the Letting agent MUST give u a time.
I would write them and tell them, that u will not give permission adn in case of violation u will take legal steps.

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Gilly 19th August, 2014 @ 10:09

My landlord keeps carrying out inspection every month recently, requesting us to clean the house every time. Despite the fact that we have cleaned the house in a reasonable condition, he still requests us to clean the house from top to bottom. However, we moved in the property with an unclean condition and had to clean it by ourselves, where the landlord admitted that he did not have time to find professional cleaners before we moved in.

Although he sometimes gave at least 24 hours notice, he did not specify the day (i.e. he only said this week or this weekend). Sometimes, he did not come at the end or just gave us surprise visit. In addition, we just found out that he gave the house keys to the repairer to come and fix a window without letting us know (i.e. not an emergency). Therefore, I did not feel uncomfortable to live in this property at all.

Moreover, he refuses to give us details about the deposit scheme that he has used. He was also threatening us that if I bring the deposit issue further for legal advice, he will charge us £250 for replacing the window.

Therefore, would you please give me some advice in what I can do to resolve the problems? Thanks for your help in advance!

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James 19th August, 2014 @ 21:19

Buttercup - a pedantic point, but they don't need your express permission to enter if they have served you with the correct notice. But, if they enter the property once you have specifically stated that they may not, then they are breaking the law and they will be trespassing. You should phrase your objection more strongly, something like.... 'despite having attempted to make arrangements with (xyz - name the agency) for the inspection to take place at a time when I may be present, xyz have stated that this will not be possible and have refused to discuss a time that could be mutually suitable. XYZ have stated that if I am not present at the property then they will let themselves in. As previously stated on xx Aug 2014, I wish to be present at the property during the planned inspection - as such, if XYZ are not willing to provide a specific inspection date and time, then I have no choice but to remove my consent for XYZ to enter the property while I am not present. Please be minded that should any of your agents enter my home against my wishes they will be doing so illegally and they will be trespassing....' If they do enter you should immediately write to them telling them they have done so against you expressed wish and that they have done so illegally.

You could threaten legal action but in reality there is little you could do if they do this just once - if they do this repeatedly that is a different matter. There is little else you can do I'm afraid - you could change the locks or find another way to prevent entry but that's probably a bit drastic. Ultimately it really shouldn't be that difficult to come to some common ground, so the best approach is to continue to communicate amicably until an arrangement can be made to suit both parties - refusal of entry should be a last resort.

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Tom 19th August, 2014 @ 21:50

James it is wrong even with a right notice they need the permission.
Because the tenant has the right not to be disturbed.
I understand every tenant who changed his locks.
And it is in the interest of the landlord / letting agent not to enter without permission. Why? Because he can be in trouble when the tenat said something is missing. "Where are the 15k I had on the kitchen table, i wanted to buy a car today." The insurance can make problems too."Who has the key to the apartment?", "Well I and the letting agent. They go everytime in without my permission." Prime suspect the letting agent.
Or more worst. A young lady inside she claims sexual harassment. Or a letting agents goes in and the tenant attacks him in self-defense.

My advice is letting agent / landlords need everytime a permission. A viewing only in his presence.

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James 20th August, 2014 @ 09:03

Tom - I stated 'express' permission, i.e. an acknowledgment from the tenant that they may enter. They do not need this. See my posts 300 and 302 above, specifically (copied from my post 302) ' ...look at Section 11, Subsection 6 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. Importantly this clause includes the word 'May' and unless you exercise your right in stating 'May not' then I believe such a visit can legally proceed...'

I accept your arguments and the points you raise but it is UK law that governs how a landlord or agent may or may not enter a tenanted property - not opinion. I'm more than willing to hear any contrary interpretation of the above Act of Parliament but until this is given then I believe the interpretation I have made is correct.

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Tom 20th August, 2014 @ 09:26

Hi James,

the LL has the right but that right violates with the right of the tenant to be undisturbed. A LL or Letting agents who does not ask for permission can become in trouble.
Most of the LA sending only an email. Well important is that the tenant receives the notice.
the LL has no right to break in, so if the tenant changes the lock he LL can't not open the doors by force.
And a tenant can easily say. "Which notice? I haven't got a notice." The point is the duty to proof that the tenant RECEIVED the notice must be done by the LL.
But as LL or LA you destroy a lot of trust and a tenant could be become angry and are complaining about every small thing. Is it this worst. It is easier to make an appointment including the exact time and how long it will take.
And there are 2 important points that is often overseen by a lot of agents and Landlords. First the European Convention of human rights. It is signed by all European countries except Albania I think. Under this every tenant can claim a violation.
But furthermore we have more and more tenants from other EEA countries and between exists agreements that the decision of their courts are valid in the other country. And treepassing is a crime in a lot of this countries. So in worst case your tenant claims in his home country the LL or LA will be found guilty and will go into prison.

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James 20th August, 2014 @ 09:42

Gilly: You are not required to clean the house top to bottom for an inspection. Your specific responsibility is to keep the property in a reasonable state such that the no damage occurs. Questions on this have previously been addressed by Jools - Post 69, Jeremy - Posts 160 & 206 and myself Posts 143, 203 & 205 - suggest you read those. By the way, are monthly inspections stated in your contract? - even if they are I would say this is OTT - if this were me I would simply refuse entry and state he could do quarterly inspections.

See the many many posts above on entry by agent/landlords without notice - legally your landlord (or anyone acting for him) must provide you with 24 hours written notice before entering your home - if he does not do this he is entering illegally. Do not accept this behaviour, it is illegal and unprofessional of him and you must record it and write to him if he does.

Regarding your deposit, if you are in an AST your Landlord is legally required to hold your deposit via the Deposit Protection Service (see post 349) - if he is threatening you with charges for pursing this point try and get these in writing or recorded as they would count heavily against him in any legal dispute or arbitration.

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James 20th August, 2014 @ 09:58

Tom - The points you raise are valid but they overlook one issue and that is that the majority of the scenarios you describe (except breaking and entering -which is clearly an illegal and criminal matter) would need to be tested in the courts. We are talking here about what a Landlord/Agent is REQUIRED to do by law not what may happen in case A, B or C. These cases are mostly civil matters and as such would need to be pursued through the courts - indeed in some circumstances they may be successful, but until that case law exists, the requirements on the landlord stated in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (LLT Act 1985) does not change. If a landlord wishes to be cautious given the other legislation you mention then that is his choice but until a court ruling is made to the contrary then the LL can operate legally provided he follows the LLT Act 1985 as it stands.

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Tom 20th August, 2014 @ 10:09

He needs an active permission. Given a notice is not a permission.

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James 20th August, 2014 @ 10:16

I agree - notice is not active permission - but that is not what the law requires. I think we'll agree to differ!

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Tom 20th August, 2014 @ 10:32

I think he needs a permission by law and based on the ECHR.
BTW: The LL acts in a crime if the LL enters without permission and the tenant is a foreign citizen.

And I see for the LL a huge problem. If the tenant forbids access he could not violate this because the tenant has the right to decide who he will let in and who not.

If the tenant not contact the LL or shows an reaction on the notice it is a problem because the tenant will say he has not got the written notice.

I suggest every LL in doubt to go to a court and get access over a court decision. In other cases he is in danger.
Every tenant will claim self defense and I can understand it as Landlord.

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petra 21st August, 2014 @ 15:54

Good afternoon,

Would anyone be able to clarify if the LL (that's me) are able to show prospective buyers round even when asking my tenant they refuse?

To explain my situation; we informally told our tenants in April that we will be selling the property so won't be renewing AST at the end of their tenancy in October, thinking that giving them plenty of notice would make it easier. However, it's turning very nasty. We have now served them with the S21 notice and with the last month of the tenancy coming up they refuse to let us show people round.

We do not harass them and have tried our best with them but to no avail.

Any comments appreciated. We also know that the husband who isn't even on the tenancy agreement has been very racist and had police called out over this with the neighbours and is the one we are having to deal with in the main part.

They have been given advice from the cab and solicitor that they don't have to move out.

Please help us!!

Thanks,
Petra

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James 21st August, 2014 @ 16:20

Petra

Quite simply if your tenant has told you that you may not enter then unless it is an emergency then you cannot legally enter - it would be trespass. Have you served notice to gain entry and they have responded saying no you may not enter on that day - or have they been more militant - i.e. 'no you cannot enter at all'? If the former then you could (if you agree with the interpretation given in Posts 374 and 377) just serve notice a number more times hoping they will not respond. But since you are so close to the end of the tenancy it may simply be easiest to cut your losses and wait until they are out. Given the timescales involved you have few legal avenues you can pursue I'm afraid. While you may not like the individuals you are dealing with, on this particular issue, the individuals character has no bearing on the course of action you can legally pursue.

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petra 21st August, 2014 @ 16:42

Thanks James

Appreciate your advice and prompt response. I'm impressed!

Problem is I think I'll end up in court with them as I'm under the impression they have no intention of moving out.

Thanks again,
Petra

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petra 21st August, 2014 @ 17:08

Thanks James,

Appreciate your feedback and prompt response.

Unfortunately, it would appear that they have no intention of moving out and we'll end up in court.

Thanks again,
Petra

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Tom 21st August, 2014 @ 19:33

I would be carefull with the interpretation. If the tenant said one time NO it is a no.
The problem is without the cooperation of the tenant you can't make a viewing.
Why are they not willingly to move out?
Are you sure that the notice was formally right?
Well that the husband is not on the tenant list has nothing to say. I know a lot of cases where only one partner is the tenant. That makes a lot of things easier. If they divorce, the person who is not on the contract as tenant has to move out.
It is not your business if he is a racist or has problems with the neighbors. What he does inside the walls is his privacy. If you step in this discussion, they will seen it as harassment.

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James 22nd August, 2014 @ 08:25

Petra
If you think this will end up in court, as Tom says you need to be especially cautious. You don't want to give the Tenant any reason to claim you have acted illegally or harassed them even if you haven't - this will just add a complication you really don't need. I think you need to accept this may be drawn out to the bitter end (warrant for eviction) and let the due process though the courts do its job - as painfully slow as this may seem. The basics of the process are described here: https://www.gov.uk/evicting-tenants/rules-you-must-follow although I'm sure you're aware of this.

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Emily 6th September, 2014 @ 17:38

Help needed,
We signed a contract with on of our housemates friend (who luckily were tenants) earlier this year. We were told we could move in on the 1st of September. All of us had no intention of moving in before the 6th at least because term doesn't start till the 17th. However, one of the girls managed to get a job so she moved up there alone. Living all alone in a 5brm house is scary enough as it is but she has found that the landlord has walked in without permission several times (not for repairs or any emergency at all). She stayed at a friends house one night and found that things had been moved, toilets seats up etc just not the way she left it and we are 100% sure it was none of us.
The landlord has also sent an email today saying her husband was coming in to the house that morning (baring in mind the email was sent at 11 and once again, not for repairs or emergencies) the girl was a work so didn't get the email till 5pm that afternoon, she didn't give permission and if he was coming in the morning that would have been a lot less than 24hrs notice.
The girl is also leaving on Monday to go home for a bit, but the landlords have conveniently decided that they fancy going on holiday the week that we all decided to move in and week before term starts (bare in mind we are all first time tenants so are bound to have problems and questions etc). They have said that we can only move in when it is convenient for her son to let us in and we have to work it around his schedule. Is she allowed to give keys to our house to other people without our permission? I know its her son but we don't know him, we've never met him before and I don't feel comfortable him having a key when I am living there alone.
Im getting a bit annoyed with her and her attitude, she makes us feel as though we are being a nuisance and im pretty sure she regrets lending to us. The bottom line is, if I want to cook a bacon sandwich in my underwear, I wont to do it without a care in the world not the constant thought of whether she is going to walk in.

Kind Regards,
Emily

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James 8th September, 2014 @ 06:35

Emily
An important question, will the house you rent be an HMO - i.e. House in Multiple Occupation? These are not unusual for student properties. Do you have a single AST agreement for the entire house or are there individual tenancy agreements for each of the bedrooms? HMOs are typified by bedrooms with individual locks/keys and communal areas kitchen/bathroom that all the tenants share.

If the house is not an HMO, then the blog and posts above detail your landlord's legal obligations on giving notice and entry - I think these are unequivocal and clear.

If your landlord is acting illegally you should write to him stating your concerns and detailing (with dates/times) when he has entered without notice. However - try to maintain good relations (don't be rude or aggressive) but be firm and stand up for yourselves. I would also not write to him straight away for the time your housemate was there - this may have been a misunderstanding and doesn't start your year off on the best footing, better to talk to him/her first.

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Chris 17th September, 2014 @ 17:32

Help please...

A week ago the letting agent entered my property without my consent and without giving any notice. I then received an email as I have a dog which is against the tenancy agreement - something I was not aware of as when I initially asked about the property I was told a dog would be ok. However in the contract it's not. Now I'm unsure as to how to proceed? I'm worried that if I keep the dog will they try to evict me? Also will they try to enter my home again unannounced to check up on me regardless of what I do. Either way I don't feel like I'm comfortable here anymore and has certainly left me feeling that I can't quietly enjoy living here.

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Fauxkingphil 17th September, 2014 @ 18:03

Chris,

You must have signed and agreed to the tenacy agreement prior to taking residency. If it was not agreed at start then I fear you are in breach of your contract. I am sure there are many other propertys that would except pets and offer you quiet enjoyment.

I imagine the next step will be for the letting agent to report the tenancy breach to the landlord. I would imagine it will be then the LL's decision on how to proceed.

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Cardifflandlord 17th September, 2014 @ 18:13

Chris,

The LA entered your premises without your permission - they are not allowed to do that period. Write to them and tell them they have breached your right to quiet enjoyment of the property by entering without express permission. Tell them if they do it again you will initiate proceedings against them for harrassment and if necessary, Illegal entry.

Regarding the dog, it would have been better to ask permission beforehand and you may technically be in breach of contract. HOWEVER, it may be that the contract is in breach of the unfair contract terms act which states that if your request is reasonable the landlord cannot refuse it.

If you are in a one bedroomed flat and you get a great dane, that may be a reasonable ground for refusal, however a small dog may be not. Unfair contract terms cover many areas of the AST so if in doubt contact the citizens advice office. If they threaten to evict you because of it, mention that you are going to take the contract and have it inspected for unfair contract terms. If your dog has damaged the property then you will have to pay to have it repaired to the condition it was in when you rented. If they have not done an inventory then that is the agents problem, but you cannot be made to repair the property to as new as this is betterment and is not allowed!

Hope this helps.

CL

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