Estate Agent Enters Property And Takes Viewings Without Notifying Tenant

Estate Agent Enters Property

Right, so this is what happened today during this miserable Monday.

A work colleague of mine received an alarming phone call from his heavily pregnant wife, informing him – in a panic – that an estate agent had opened the front door (with keys), let himself in, and proceeded to take a viewing.

The agent gave no prior warning, and the tenants’ didn’t even know the property was on the market.

While many of us don’t expect any less from estate agents, it’s important that we establish what the tenants’ rights are this horrific situation!

Here’s a full breakdown to the extent of the problem:

  1. as said, the tenants didn’t even know the property was for sale
  2. the tenants didn’t receive any notification from the landlord or estate agent that someone would be entering the premises
  3. my colleague’s wife is heavily pregnant, which makes her extremely vulnerable
  4. they only moved into the property on the 30th of December (so approx 1 month ago), with a 6 month tenancy agreement
  5. the shit-for-brains agent didn’t even have the courtesy of knocking to check if anyone was home, he just entered on his own accord.

SHOCKING!

BOTH the landlord and agent are equally in the wrong from what I can tell. The spineless landlord should have informed his tenants’ he had intentions of selling the property, and the greaseball estate agent KNOWS that they are legally obligated to provide 24 hours written notice to the tenant before entering the premises, which the tenant must agree to. Or at least, they certainly should know that.

My colleague (the tenant) had steam coming out of every bodily orifice when he discovered what had happened, and understandably so. He immediately contacted the agents and expressed his anger. The agents apologised (is that good really enough?) and said it won’t happen again.

While I could effortlessly spend forever and day venting and projecting my dismay for these chuckle-heads, it probably won’t make for the most useful or practical blog entry. So I’m going to use this opportunity to turn a negative into a positive by offering my advice for anyone else that finds themselves in a similar situation, where by an agent, landlord or anyone else representing the landlord enters your home without permission.

What are the tenants rights?

All tenants under an assured shorthold tenancy agreement have the statutory right to live in quiet enjoyment. That ultimately means tenant’s are entitled to live in their rental property as if it is their home.

As already mentioned, if an agent, landlord or any other representative wishes to enter the premises they MUST provide 24 hours written notice to the tenant, and the tenant must permit access (otherwise it could be deemed as force of entry). The only exception to this rule is there is an emergency within the premises and access is necessary.

Making a complaint against your estate agent

All estate agents and letting agents are legally required to be a member of a redress scheme, and tenant’s can lodge an official complaint with them if they feel they have been subject to unfair and/or poor service from their agent.

Agents that fail to register to a scheme or practice against the requirements of a scheme they are a member of, could face penalties.

So I recommend finding out which scheme your agent is a member of (it could be more than one of them) and then contacting them. But before doing that, here is a more complete guide on how to make make a complaint against a letting/estate agent.

Making a complaint against your Landlord

If you feel it is your landlord that has breached your statutory rights or breached the terms of your tenancy agreement, here is a guide on how tenants can make a complaint against their landlord.

Hope that helps, and good luck.

May the force be with you.

4 Join the Conversation...

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Sheldon 25th January, 2010 @ 23:26

what a fucking dumb ass agent and landlord....

1
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GillsMan 26th January, 2010 @ 07:37

Wow. That is absolutely terrible! Damn right they should change the locks and not allow any further viewings. Normally, I advocate that tenants should be reasonable and allow viewings but, given what's happened, I fully support them on this!

2
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Greg 6th February, 2010 @ 10:22

SHOCKING!!!! thats precisely why the industry should be more heavily regulated

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deeplyblue 15th January, 2011 @ 02:33

Our original tenancy agreement included a clause which said that in the last two months of the agreement that the landlord or their agents had the right to show prospective new tenants or, presumably, purchasers round the house - after 24 hours' notice, which could be verbal. This was, I think, a standard clause in the agreement used by a large lettings agency.

I suspect that under the conditions outlined here (assuming that all the relevant facts have been revealed- which is a job for a lawyer), the tenants' right to privacy has probably been breached. The tenants probably have a good case if they wanted to take the case to courts, as a breach of human rights.

I would suggest that the tenants take further steps. I didn't know that they had a right to change the locks, but I would have thought that they would have to provide the landlord/ agents with a spare set.

I would recommend setting up a small webcam, linked to a computer - it is quite possible that an agent with that sort of track record is capable of entering the house when the tenants are not at home. They need to track this.

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