My Tenant Won’t Allow Me To Enter The Property For Viewings

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The difficulty of viewings with tenants in situ

Difficult tenants & viewings

Difficult tenants & viewings

My tenant isn’t exactly refusing me access in order to take viewings, but she’s making it incredibly difficult, consequently forcing me to have terrible thoughts, which all usually conclude with her crying like a blubbering baby, while I’m holding her bloody heart up in the air like a prized trophy and laughing like a hyena blitzed on amphetamine.

So I want to touch on the subject of arranging viewings with unwilling tenants, because there seems to be conflicting opinions about this incredibly common dilemma.

‘The struggle’ is real whether you want to take viewings to ‘find new tenants’ or sell a tenanted property, but this blog post will be based on ‘tenant viewings’ (i.e. finding new tenants to replace current tenants), but the general principles and legal aspects will apply to both scenarios.

The situation from both sides

On one hand, the landlord wants to limit the void period between tenancies, so they’re eager to take viewings while the property is still tenanted. Totally understandable. But on the other hand, the tenant is still the occupant; the property is still their home, and they’re not terribly encouraged by the idea of random punters trampling in and out of their home. Equally as understanding.

In reality, most tenants won’t have an issue with viewings as long as they’re orchestrated with courtesy by the landlord. Granted, many landlords haven’t the foggiest what that entails. But for many reasons, viewings can often be problematic while there is a tenant in situ.

It can be one of the trickiest and most irritating situations for both landlord and tenant, because there’s a legitimate argument from both parties- it’s easy to be sympathetic for either side. But it’s probably more irritating for landlords, and I say that while trying to remain unequivocally unbiased. The landlord simply has something more tangible to lose. Money.

So, who’s in the right? Morally, it can go either way (but who cares about morals, right?). Here’s how I’ve always understood it from a legal standpoint…

Can the tenant refuse the landlord access for viewings?

I believe so, yes.

If the tenant doesn’t want to allow access, whether it be for viewings, inspections or general maintenance, that’s their given right. The tenant has the right to possession and to the lawful use and enjoyment of the premises. Whether that’s reasonable or not is another issue altogether.

In this situation, I’ve noticed a bizarre trend, whereby many landlords and agents are under the impression that tenants mysteriously lose their statutory rights towards the end of the tenancy when it’s time for viewings. They don’t.

So what does that mean? Under Common Law, all tenants are entitled to live in “quiet enjoyment” until the tenancy is legally terminated, so only until then can you or anyone else can’t just waltz in and out of the property without permission.

Citizen Advice says the following on the matter:

If your landlord wants to enter your home for any other reason, for example, to show round a new tenant, they can only do this with your agreement or in accordance with any reasonable term set out in your tenancy agreement.

Note, it says “with your (the tenants) agreement”

It’s also worth noting that tenants are legally entitled to change the door locks and do NOT have to give a copy to the landlord/agent, but is still expected to grant “reasonable” access. That’s pretty relevant because it strongly implies that landlords and/or agents don’t have the right to gain access at their will, despite what might be engraved in the tenancy agreement

‘Viewing’ clauses in tenancy agreements

This is where it gets particularly controversial, with opinions flying in several directions.

Many rely and believe in ‘viewing clauses’, which typically stipulates that in the last 28 days of a tenancy the landlord/agent is entitled to access the premises in order to take viewings. Many tenancy agreements have viewing clauses, but I think they’re often misinterpreted, and wrongly used as a license to breach the tenants rights. That’s when it can become dangerous.

While Citizen’s Advice does mention that landlords can rely on terms set in the tenancy agreement to gain reasonable access for viewings, it’s important to acknowledge that “forceful entry” into the property without legal consent (e.g. by a Judge) is not permitted, which is what I believe the situation would effectively be if a landlord or agent enters a property without permission to take a viewing. On that basis, viewing clauses become tragically weaker than many realise, because they still don’t actually give you any authority to enter the premises without permission.

Ultimately, the tenants right to refuse access will take presidency over any clause impeding the tenants right to “quiet enjoyment”, unless there is a genuine emergency. Section 11 clarifies that if there is an emergency the landlord can enter without permission, which I’m assuming is something like a heavily leaking/burst water pipe or fire. I suppose you could, in theory, strategically throw a rock through the window and dislodge an exposed pipe. Err… good luck with that one.

The biggest consequence ALL landlords should fear when contemplating the notion of entering a property without consent from the tenant is the prospect of harassment charges for “forcing entry” It’s very real. And scary. You definitely don’t want that allegation hanging over your sorry little peanut-head. I wouldn’t risk it. It’s also worth bearing in mind (in case you actually want to act on your mindless stupidity), Judges are generally in favour of the poor vulnerable tenants in these situations, so it’s practically financial suicide for landlords. Trespasser be warned.

I’d personally rather wait until the tenant vacates and subsequently risk having a longer void period, even if that means reluctantly swallowing the extra costs. It’s a total suck-fest, but that’s the reality of the situation as far as I’m concerned.

If the tenant does refuse access while there are ‘reasonable’ viewing clauses and the landlord has attempted to orchestrate them reasonably and with fair warning, yes, the tenant IS in breach of contract. Then you can serve a section 8, but what’s the bloody point? The tenant is due to vacate soon anyways.

The landlord may have a good case to seek compensation via the deposit scheme. But, even then that isn’t very reassuring, because BOTH the tenant and landlord have to agree for the matter to be arbitrated by the deposit scheme, otherwise the landlord will need to take the matter to Court (which will most likely be the outcome). A whole lot of hassle. Again, I’d still rather wait until the unreasonable douchebag tenant vacates.

Conclusion? Meh, in real terms, viewing clauses aren’t worth shit, in my opinion! However, purely on the grounds that most tenants aren’t aware of their right to quiet enjoyment, the clause is still worth having. So on the basis that you’ve managed to bag yourself a tenant that will blindly allow their fate to be determined by a clause that mostly, in my opinion, isn’t worth a damn, you may have hit the jackpot in this situation.

What about letting agents & viewings?

Yeah, what about them? They can go suck on a pulsating haemorrhoid.

Only joking.

I have two thoughts about letting agents and viewings.

Agents can be extremely useful during these turbulent times, because they’ll usually chase, pester and apply pressure until tenants reluctantly become accommodating. Agents usually aren’t shy of being relentless, greasy little assholes- and that can be an extremely persuasive weapon. Sometimes.

I’ve always said that one of the main benefits of using a high-street agent is having the viewings dealt with. Now, whether that alone is worth their sky high price-tag is debatable.

My second thought, is quite naturally, rather more disruptive. I often hear stories about letting agents freely walking in and out of properties without the tenants permission. This usually occurs because the agents are oblivious to the law or knowingly disregard it. They probably get away with it more often than not, because they know they’re preying on the ignorant. But it’s a risky game for them to play, because agents are governed by the same restrictions as landlords, which I appreciate is often difficult to tell when they’re whizzing round in their slick superhero costume, in the form of a power-suit from Burtons.

All i’d say is, if a agent is handling the viewings on your behalf, I wouldn’t pressure them to ‘force entry’ if you’re dealing with a difficult tenant. However, if they’re prepared to do it without your encouragement, on their greasy little head be it. But as the landlord, it’s wiser to keep your hands squeaky clean.

How to deal with viewings during tenanted properties

The key is communication and respect.

Don’t just assume or insist that taking viewings is perfectly acceptable in your tenants eyes- even if you have an an amazing relationship and your star-sign intertwines with theirs. Always ask permission and emphasise you’re prepared to work around their schedule. Remember, they don’t have to allow you access, they can easily make the entire process extremely difficult for you just for the sake of it. They hold all the chips. Of course, some tenants will naturally make it extra difficult regardless of how respectful you’re being about it. That’s just the fall of mankind.

My tenant was being extremely difficult when it came to the scheduling, and I genuinely didn’t understand why, especially since she’s the one that surrendered her freaking tenancy. I offered the miserable ol’ tart several days/times over a 3 week period, which she could choose from, but she point-blank refused without any hesitation.

She was allegedly busy during all the proposed days/times. Without a doubt, total bullshit. In any case, despite her shortfallings as a compassionate human, I completely appreciate and respect that she remains the tenant and therefore the property is her home until she officially vacates. But more notably, she’s generally been a very decent tenant. I have no complaints.

My way of dealing with it was to begrudgingly request access to the property for 4 hours during ONE lousy day of her choice, after 5pm, in which time I’ll arrange as many viewings as possible. A total pain to organise, because it was heavily reliant on the prospective tenants being available, but it’s all I had to work with. Fortunately, I managed to squeeze in 4 viewings during that time.

If I can’t find a suitable tenant out of that set, I’ll probably just wait until the property is vacant… or get on my knees and beg for her mercy. Failing that, I’ll probably just sacrifice a friend of mine by getting him to lower his inhibitions by caressing her lifeless carcass until the sun rises, hoping she’ll be in a more generous mood then. I’ll probably give him a fiver for his troubles. And when I say mate, I’m most likely talking about myself. Whatever I have to do, this is business.

From my experience, when you’re dealing with unreasonable tenants in these similar situations, the best solution is to allow them to take control and dance to their tune like a monkey, and take every ounze of mercy you can get your grubby little mitts on. I snatched those 4 hours out of her hand like I was gagging for my next high and she was dangling a mountain of cocaine.

What if the tenant completely refuses access?

If your tenant remains unreasonable, even after offering to bow down to their lousy terms and conditions, then there’s probably an underlying reason for it. Most commonly;

  • 1) They could legitimately be unreasonable tenants with a chip on their shoulder. That could genuinely be the only reason, especially if you’re the heartless schmuck that served them notice.

    In this case, I would just cut my losses and take viewings once the tenant vacates. Better that than the alternative(s) e.g. forcing entry and creating more problems.

  • 2) It’s highly possible that the tenant genuinely has a massive phobia with random people walking in and out of thier home, snooping around, eyeing up their junk. It’s not uncommon, especially during a stressful period when they are planning to move homes, which probably heightens their phobia. I believe this was my tenant’s issue. If it was my business, I’d be inclined to recommend therapy (and to anyone else that falls into this bracket) to help deal with anxiety.

    Again, I would just wait until the tenant vacates.

  • 3) The relationship between you and the tenant is total bullshit. Perhaps that’s the reason behind the tenant’s departure, and consequently they’re adamant on making your life a living hell. Everyone knows that the best way to cripple a landlord is by attacking the purse.

    Once again, I would wait until the tenant vacates.

  • 4) The tenant is hiding something sinister e.g. damaged property, a property that’s been reduced to a shithole, or a cannabis farm. In this case, if you haven’t already served notice, I’d be inclined to serve a Section 8 or 21, depending on the specifics, because the reality is, they may not have any intentions of vacating. But also, you probably wouldn’t want to expose prospective tenants around whatever it is the current tenants are preventing you from accessing.

If you’re currently in this situation and you’re having a very concerning experiencing, whether you’re a tenant or landlord, I would advise seeking legal advice from either Shelter, Citizens Advice or a professional tenant eviction company.

Do you actually want to take viewings with tenants in situ?

Think about it.

In my experience, very few tenants live in conditions that I would deem truly “presentable” But then again, I do have a mild case of OCD. But despite my irrational compulsiveness, there is still something very real lurking in my point for even the average sane person. I’ve seen tenants live in conditions that even a donkey would be mortified by. It’s truly baffling.

In many cases, I’ve been reluctant to take viewings while tenants are in situ because I don’t want the new prospective tenants to endure the hellhole conditions the current tenants are living in- that would probably do more harm than good to any “tenant finding” process. I’d rather allow the property to be void for a couple of days after the current tenants vacate so I can make it presentable before taking viewings. Generally speaking, shit properties attract shit tenants. You better believe!

I’m not saying the properties have all been reduced to utter gloom and death, but they’ve been sore on the eyes. It’s usually made clear that hygiene or general tidiness isn’t on the top of your tenants agenda during property inspections (which all landlords should regularly do). I personally wouldn’t even contemplate arranging viewings unless I knew I was going to be showing a property worth showing. I’ve had tenants make my property look like show homes in the past, and consequently the viewings have been a joy.

So before insisting on viewings, decide on whether it’s actually sensible taking viewings with tenants in situ. You don’t want to burn through your prospective tenants by showing them a stinking shit-pit; not only will that make you look bad as a landlord, but it will also increase the chances of attracting similarly messy tenants.

Final note…

I just want to emphasise how important it is to be respectful and build a good working relationship with your tenants. Being an asshole landlord is counter-intuitive, it will make your life much more difficult as this blog post demonstrates, and that can often reflect negatively on profit margins. Rightly or wrongly so, tenants can effortlessly eat through profit margins, so it’s better to keep them on your side, even if that means biting your lip on occasion (but not allowing them to completely take the piss). Always be rational and look at the bigger picture.

So, letting agents, tenants, landlords…anyone… have you got any personal experience on the matter? What’s your thoughts on the issue and the legislation? Perhaps I’ve got it all wrong! Speak to me!

142 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Showing 92 - 142 comments (out of 142)
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Bob 14th November, 2016 @ 22:08

Assigned in the event of a sale?

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David 14th November, 2016 @ 23:32

Depends if your Landlord is big or small, big ones include clause that in the event of a sale all obligations pass to new owner etc.

Some smaller ones have no provisions for such things.

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Bob 15th November, 2016 @ 00:16

I think it necessarily passes on, at least until they evict you.

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Mike 15th November, 2016 @ 08:24

What a great read from both Bob and David. (14th November, 2016)

At last factual and true comments from two people who know what they are doing, and who totally understand the industry.

Thank you

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Bob 15th November, 2016 @ 09:04

It's true what they say about sarcasm and the hierarchy of wit.

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Bob 17th November, 2016 @ 10:25

Can a landlord who is selling a property make the tenant's continued occupancy a condition of sale?

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Nige 17th November, 2016 @ 17:04

They might as in our area properties are advertised with sitting tenant. Not really advisable though as it places the eviction process onto the new owner.
A more common scenario would be for a current landlord to issue a section 21 notice and if the property is bought by an investor to suggest to the buyer that the current tenant would take up a new tenancy.
I will give a warning on this though that in the current market a new tenancy is unlikely to be offered on the same rent.

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Bob 17th November, 2016 @ 18:24

Thanks Nige

Am I right in thinking that a new landlord would have to honour any fixed term contract? There isn't one in place, currently, mind.

My LL pulled out of a sale lately because the buyer didn't intend to keep me. That's kind of them, and I kind of feel for them, but I don't think there's much I can do.

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Nige 17th November, 2016 @ 18:51

Contrary to a lot of thinking landlords do like to keep a long term tenant but you must remember that being a landlord is a business.
So if your landlord pulled out of the sale there may have been an ulterior motive. Examples of this may be that property values are going up the landlord may have used up his yearly CGT allowance , there were reasons you don't know of regarding problems with the sale.
Or as you say they might just be kind people. I manage 2 properties at well below market rate for a landlord. One reason is that they would have to pay 40% tax on the additional rent if it was put up. Another reason is that a few quid might have to be spent to tart them up for sale.

One reason landlords might not sell is that house prices are rising very quickly but a sale would just put money in the bank at pitifull interest rates.

Tenants have to realise that they don't own a property and the landlord has no obligation to them. Unfortunately this is open to abuse ie the tenant refuses to leave resulting in all sorts of problems for a landlord including the fact that the property market might collapse at a time they actually need the money.(like 2007)

Im not saying that your landlord doesn't want to treat you nicely but I am saying they are taking a risk and at the moment this is acceptable to them.

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Bob 17th November, 2016 @ 19:04

They have kept the place on the market so I believe them. I also had a couple of exchanges with the buyer which lead me to believe the LL.
I take your point - I may have to move on at some point. But I won't be doing anything until I have to.

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dean smith 30th November, 2016 @ 16:51

hey guys question .....i have a landlord who has threatened to have me removed for knocking a issue is nother tennant on his behind cause he tried to threaten me at my door but thats not the issue...
the issue is he informed us of a epc check which he told us the time and date to be in or he would allow himself in ...
so made sure we was in and it was the e.p.c. guy and someone being shown around our flats ...potential buyer ..well epc took about 20 mins and this guy still dont know who is he was in every room checking it out ...any how 3 days later the landlord called in and said e.p.c. needed doing again no written notice just verbal and told us when to be in again same time as last week and the same day ....well the day came i had to be in again ....well this time no e.p.c. guy just a man and a woman being shown around bye someone who held all the keys for the flats ..they came in had a good look around then they left .....we are not being informed what these are for and to be honist i feel like my privacy is being thrown out of the window i have p.c.s in my house large tvs etc i dont know who these people are and having to stay in waiting for people cause the land lord says so isnt right is it ??please help

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Bob 30th November, 2016 @ 17:46

It certainly isn't right, but can you you elaborate on that first paragraph?

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David 1st December, 2016 @ 14:49

@deansmith

Change the cylinder on the lock first off, he has no right of entry without mutually convenient consent, if he attempts to force entry or is aggressive CALL THE POLICE do not say it is the landlord, say there are two men trying to break into my house.

Email him telling him that you reject his proposed appointment, in future you require 14 days notice and will only accept an appointment at a time that is convenient. You are entitled to "quiet enjoyment of the property under common law" say that you reject any appointments that are not emergency and you can see that these so called EPC are not only not emergency they are potential buyers.

Inform him that due to his harrassment which may be actionable under harrassment act 2007 and has been logged with the authorities, you must put conditions of entry.

Suggest that you are not prepared to entertain viewings of more than one person at a time due to risk of theft when one goes into a different room. Offer him a window at 2pm on Sunday for no more than one hour, say due to his threat to enter the property he is no longer trusted to enter the property, you may entertain a contractor or agent by themselves

Make a complaint to the Local Housing Officer of harrassment so that there is a record which you may rely on later.

He probably thinks he can't evict without an EPC but that is for new tenancies

He will be seeking a Section 21, you do not have to make that easy for him to serve.

Of course one assumes he gave you details of deposit protection within 30 days and the seperate prescribed information also within 30 days.

You would do well to make up with the neighbour, antisocial behaviour may affect your ability to get another tenancy.

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Nige 1st December, 2016 @ 16:27

I will not comment on your proposals but I will say that serving a section 21 notice is a piece of cake.
Its sent by first class post with a certificate of posting which a court will deem as having been served 2 days later.If you then try and say you did not receive it that proof will be read out in court.

A word of warning to tenants who stay put. I have just had a case like that and all costs were awarded against the tenant. That started at £355. My case was a straight forward one with the judge following the law and as all criteria had been satisfied awarded the house back to the landlord. It was the tenants choice to stay put. (advice from the council).

As we have seen on ''cant pay we will take it away'' landlords can bypass the normal court process and go to the high court and the tenant is out within hours, packed or not.

My tenant was cooperative and I extended her stay of execution to the max..that is 42 days plus the judge agreed with me to allow another 7 days as her kid started school that day. It pays to be cooperative (both ways) as it enabled her to get a house within 2 days.

Yes tenants have rights and so do landlords and a hard stance will always be met with resistance. And in the current housing market landlords talk. Most of my properties have been let through recommendation and word of mouth with some tenants even wanting to return to me because their next landlord was not as nice or as lenient.

Play hard and fast and be obstinate. Just plan on living in a cardboard box, with friends or relatives in future.
Also councils may be obliged to rehouse people who are made homeless but that does not have to fit in with your lifestyle. It can be miles away.

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David 1st December, 2016 @ 20:56

@Nige

We both know it can go both ways.

My advice was based on the behaviour of this Landlord who is already being unreasonable.

For the Landlord this is just an investment and boy you know how much your investment cost you with that woman.

However, for a tenant it is their home, the way for him to have handled this would have been to come around, have a chat, tell Dean he was selling the flat without vacant possesion and he will see that the new landlord is decent to him.

All this fucking about with EPC's and couples is complete crap.

He has NO right of entry, end of. Except to repair say a gas safety issue or a water issue fixing another flat, even then Dean can limit that to the contractor.

The poor notice, threats to gain entry are all completely unacceptable. Now when I was a kid my Dad always taught me to hit back hard and fast so they would remember next time.

@Nige you are one of the more decent Landlords in fact on many occasions you have suffered for being too decent.

However, some think they are lords, some think they can come and go.

Costs in housing depends on how it gets there, sounds like you did a S8.

High Court Bailiffs are futile if the person you are going after has no assets. Then they just disappear and go off the radar for 6 years and it gets beyond statute.

Section 21 usually has no costs as it is an accelorated procedure on small claims track. The risk to tenant and landlord if it goes to appeal, then either side could be looking at £10k. One barrister I know usually charges £750 just for the travel.

At the moment the EPC suggests that Dean's landlord is preparing an S21 anyway. As he has done it in an underhand way there is no reason to make it easy.

You can put an S21 in the post and some Judges may accept it but not all. Same as the Deposit protection and PI, they really need to be signed to avoid issues.

It does not have to be nasty but Landlord drew first blood.

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Bob 1st December, 2016 @ 21:03

I'm with David; yot may be surprized at the effect an assertive reaction could have
However, that surprise may be an unpleasant one, so think about whether you can afford - literally and figuratively - to move on if it comes to it.

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Nige 1st December, 2016 @ 22:57

@David
A section 21 notice costs time to write and a stamp.
BUT if they are still in when they should have left then the cost is currently £355 to get a just to give you the order of possession. This can be appealed giving the tenant the right to reply (if they can be bothered to turn up). So more time in court and thus the 14 days before bailiffs are instructed (or as I said up to 42 days in my post. Then another load of cash forked out for bailiffs !!

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dean 3rd December, 2016 @ 01:18

well the deposit was paid as advanced rent and this i cannot get back due to me being on benfits and the tenancy stating has to be payed direct or void so no way i can ever retreive it as the council explained to me...advanaced rent but when its payed direct or void how do you retreave it ?
also today ive had a sommons from the local council for a name unknown to me ...but
i opened it thinking what the @@@@ well its a council tax summons of another rented property of theres the one in fact thats marked down as there head office .
ive had information off painters that the house is back off the market now .
and the first part of my other message was i had hassle with the neighbour down stairs allowing himself access to my hallway when ever i went out ..knocking on inviting women or my guest down to his for drinks and time i nipped out which they found creepy had to ring the police on him 3 times for being drunk and aggressive ..but one day decided to come threatening me that he controls this area id be knocked out etc so bye this time had enough and floored him ...the landlords threatened me with eviction for violence ..but this was after mths of this oh yh i suffer from p.t.s.d. and classed as vounerable adult sorry if spelling is pants

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dean 3rd December, 2016 @ 01:20

and why does epc sujjest that they trying for a section 21?

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Nige 3rd December, 2016 @ 08:55

@ David
I was told by my tenant that I didn't show enough empathy when she didn;t show up with the removal men To collect her goods I would not describe them as good !!)
So after a friend and myself shifting crap into a removal van with the guys I am accused of not showing any empathy as some distant relative has gone into hospital and she is worried.
This happens 55 days AFTER she should have vacated under a section 21.
And nearly 6 weeks after she left I still have not retrieved my deposit because she obviously has another problem to worry about.

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TenantLord 10th December, 2016 @ 14:25

Been on both sides of this issue. This taught me that the essential thing for a Landlord is to demonstrate that they respect the needs of tenant (assuming the tenant has generally been OK).

There's a sense among some (esp BTL?) landlords that a tenancy is second-rate compared to their ownership. The property is the landlords, and the tenant is just a sort of paying guest. That's not what a tenancy is, it's not how to think of someone's home, and it's not a good way to get co-operation, which you will eventually want.

So yes, it's reasonable to want access for viewings, but it's also reasonable not to want to give strangers access to your property. Especially if you're moving house, or your relationship is ending, or you've had to end the tenancy because you need to move to look after your family.

So if you ask, be understanding of objection. Offer some token of thanks and appreciation. Apologise if you need access more than once or twice. Don't push and push for more and more access if you're not getting new tenants quickly enough.

After all, even if you do get access by applying more and more pressure, if you treat people with disrespect, expect to have it repaid. The Wifi name at a place I viewed to buy a couple of years back was "TheNewPaintIsToHideTheRisingDamp". No idea if it was true, or if tenant was just a dick, but I wonder how much it ended up costing the landlord.

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TenantLord 10th December, 2016 @ 14:30

oh, and Nige - HCEO will end up costing some Landlords a lot, since it's often entirely misused, which could end up invalidating the whole eviction process.

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Bob 10th December, 2016 @ 16:28

TenantLord, what's your view on selling with a tenant in place?

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TenantLord 11th December, 2016 @ 23:31

Bob, I wouldn't try it if I didn't have a good relationship with the sitting tenants, they were happy to leave on the rough timetable I had for sale, and even then I would probably offer some monthly incentives for co-operation.

Only exception is if I was advertising to sell to an investor. Forget the morals of ownership, On contractual/legal basis, there's just too many spanners tenants can easily throw in the works. Risk of wasting time and money isn't worth it. Of course, a distressed sale might make it necc, but in that case, I'd be thinking of what financial cost I'm willing to take to get them to co-operate with losing their home.

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Anon 14th January, 2017 @ 13:04

Just wanted some advice please. I am a tenant whose landlord wants to sell. Initially we were told we would be given 2 months notice once an offer was accepted. Now the landlord has revoked that and issued a section 21 in, what I believe, to be revenge for 'unreasonable' access. Me and my partner are both very busy and whilst we have allowed inspections and repairs to take place without us being there (at our risk mind as this voids our home insurance) we wanted to be there for viewings and offerred two days in the week, including a Saturday with a 4 hour window for each. I feel as though this notice has been issued by a disgruntled lanlord and denys us the possibility that someone may want to buy as an investment, it is a town centre flat which would be prefect for that. We have been tenants for 2.5 years always paid on time and kept the flat very nice. I know there is a chance that someone will buy not as an investment but I think it is quite disrespectful to deny us this option completely.

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David 14th January, 2017 @ 13:19

The Landlord may have a buyer or he may just be aware that he will always improve options for sale by having VACANT POSSESSION, otherwise he cuts out anyone buying for themself.

If the S21 is legally compliant you have been given the legal notice and should leave unless you are eligible for Council Housing (vulnerable or have kids) in which case you take the S21 to them and see what they say.

The only reverse revenge you have is to make sure that your deposit was protected within 30 days and that you were given the "prescribed information" within 30 days. If your landlord failed on either of those you may get a sanction of up to 3x the rent.

If they have never protected the deposit or you have never been told via the "Prescribed Information" where the deposit is protected then you can reject the S21 anytime in the 2 month period and inform the Landlord why you are rejecting it as not being legally compliant.

If you your deposit was protected and you were given PI then all you can do is find a new place to live ASAP or perhaps put in an offer to buy it (avoiding the agent which saves the Landlord a fee). I imagine a landlord would leave the S21 in place and say "get a mortgage and make the offer via your solicitor who confirms you have the funds and we can talk".

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Nige 14th January, 2017 @ 15:13

A section 21 is actually your 2 months notice. If you sat tight and refused to move/couldn't find a place to move to then the seller could find a buyer (who might also be in a position to have to move) who withdraws from the sale.

As I read your post you are hoping that your landlord sells to an investor who will ''relet'' to you and you can remain in the property. The dangers here are many.
There are companies who will buy property and leave tenants in situ for a couple of months before starting to evict.
There is no guarantee that an investor would leave your property as one unit ie start letting it as rooms. They might want to gut it and update it and resell at a profit.

Yes the new owner may let you stay. There are a few properties on the market here with tenant in situ. However as above the buyer may rent for 6 months and then turf you out or when they buy they change the rent to a level unacceptable to you under a new tenancy. Even then you will find that most tenancies are 6 months assured shorthold so you don't have security for longer.

Not sounding pompous but are you in a position to buy ? With some of the current schemes available you can buy for a low deposit and mortgage payments will be substantially lower than you pay rent. I have just helped a young kid through this process. With a deposit and using a scheme he pays between 450 and 500 mortgage. The next door property (cluster home) went on the market at 715 pcm rental .

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David 14th January, 2017 @ 16:06

Good advice @Nige

One should never get too attached to things, property, a name, anything.

Maybe this is the wake up call you need to find a way to get on the ladder with another property, shared ownership or equity loans, maybe become a Landlord

https://www.helptobuy.gov.uk/equity-loan/equity-loans

Of course the ConGov does not do this for nothing, they know you will pay 2% or 5% Stamp Duty!

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Scummy landlord 19th February, 2017 @ 19:39

Well I read recently that a deposit scheme awarded compensation to a landlord for being refused access to do viewings as per the contract. I think this post is a little bit too keen to write off the validity of said contract clauses. I would say that if the landlord shows themselves to be flexible and respectful of the tenant's right to quiet enjoyment, e.g. offering alternatives, suggesting block viewings one evening when best suits the tenant, and the tenant STILL refuses despite a contract clause backing the landlord up, is a judge really going to simply side with the tenant? I think it depends on how reasonable BOTH parties are being as to how a court would likely preside over the issue.

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The Landlord 19th February, 2017 @ 20:22

@Scummy landlord
I agree with everything you said, it is about being reasonable. I haven't read about that particular case, but it doesn't surprise me, and I don't think I was totally writing viewing clauses off. Do you have a link to that case, by any chance? It would be useful to link to it in the main post as a point of reference.

My primary point in the blog post was that some agents/landlords use the clause to force entry, or enter the premises without permission, because of the 'viewing' clause.

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David 21st February, 2017 @ 05:31

@Scummy

When there is a dispute about a deposit, the tenant amd landlord are asked if they wish the DPS, TDS or MyDesposits to arbitrate.

BOTH have to agree, otherwise the matter goes to Court, any tenant would be wise to choose the Court option or another mediation service. The deposit will continue to be held pending the outcome.

This decision which I have not read about has no legal standing as far as case law is concerned, nor would it in county court, it has to go to High Court, Court of Appeal and/or Supreme Court but as there are already decisions.

There IS case law in this matter, unfair contract terms, OFT guidance and more. where people make mistakes is where the precedents have applied to commercial or residential tenancies. The former tends to lean toward the landlord the latter toward the tenant.

Common Law says all landlords are under an implied obligation to allow their tenants “quiet enjoyment” of the property.

A landlord must make sure that no one, be it the landlord himself or his agent shall interfere with the tenant’s right to possession of and to the lawful use and enjoyment of the premises.

In legal terms, enjoyment, means to have the use and full benefit of the right, mess with that and the tenant can claim damages.

Consider that viewing may interfere with a couple holding a dinner party, or having the grandparents over on a sunday. Full Benefit is the issue.

In the event that a tenant feels they really have a claim, they could withhold rent by lien give it to a solicitor to hold, as well as refuse to let the DPS et al arbitrate. If they feel they do not have enough leverage they could refuse to leave, make a tenancy go SPT and force the Landlord to issue proceedings to which they issue counter claim.

As with everything legal, just because there is a law, does not mean you are sensible to fight, always better to be amicable and settle but we know that is not always possible.

One Landlady I know is the very worst Landlord, she has a huge chip on her shoulder, lords it over tenants, is aggressive and quotes the law as if she has her own private police force to enforce it. It has cost her tens of thousands.

Anyway, it is widely known that the deposit holding companies tend to lean toward the landlords because it is they that choose where the next deposit will be protected and that is where their income comes from.

If I were that tenant I would be writing to my MP, have them speak to Sajid Javid and put in a complaint to the Department for Communities and Local Government, but that is just me, I never let go! You can't really have an arbitration service going against common law.

Most downloaded tenancy agreements are not worth the hard disk they are stored on. Or they may start out OK but the Landlord stupidly adds clauses that can invalidate the whole contract in some circumstances.

It is all about common sense, the Landlord and Tenant have to BOTH be reasonable, BUT if the Landlord has harassed, shown bad faith, entered while a tenant is out, said he wants to do a gas inspection while really showing tenants around, then the tenant can reasonably say, you have lost my faith, risked my assets, breached the tenancy agreement and common law.

If a Landlord LORDS it over a tenant, implies they have rights they do not have, puts in clauses that contradict common law or the spirit of it, makes threats, has a history of harassment, failed to meet his own obligations, then the tenant can reasonably say, I am preserving my right to quiet enjoyment. Save a flood or genuine gas leak.

They would be wise to APPEAR reasonable, to either set aside two slots for viewings, demand one at a time in the flat, only allow them when the are present. Even then, they can demand 24 hours notice and say "sorry that is not convenient".

I suspect that in this case the Landlord put a better case and the tenant did not.

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Tom 19th April, 2017 @ 19:37

Some fun experience of being a tenant:

i. Viewings without even being informed at 9:00 am in the morning on a Saturday, people complaining about things not being tidy enough despite no notice.
ii. Viewings with no notice for 2 months on end.

The whole viewing process during notice is the main reasons I would be unwilling to be a tenant long term, particularly when combined with the hostile referencing system which can amount to "Let us break the rules or we'll give you a bad reference"

From my perspective it's just an utter pain being told that someone is going to view your house the following morning the evening before, and then you to stay up later making things look presentable - and this can go on for months - basically as soon as you give notice. This has interesting incentives: it means you are forced to give the landlord the minimum notice possible to avoid disruption to your life.

I'm quite happy to have viewings every day for a couple of weeks on end, as long as I'm given two to three days notice before the first viewing! And as long as the landlord / agent ask, rather than tell. The answer will always be a yes, but if you *tell me* that you are doing things that you need to ask permission for it starts to annoy me.

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Tom 19th April, 2017 @ 19:39

Also the pain of shared houses! Having to clean up other people's mess for viewings, and then having them create mess again. With landlord's using the approach of "hold the helpful person responsible" to make you do things.

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David 19th April, 2017 @ 20:02

@Tom

You say you would not be a tenant long term but most do not have a choice.

I like to think that there is a middle ground, but both sides can take the piss.

You do NOT have to let them in and chances are most landlords are not in any hurry to write a reference because they a busy people.

Best thing you can do is write the reference and put it in front of them to sign.

Finally I think the best solution regarding viewings is to have fixed times, a 1 hour window on Wednesday evening and 2 hours on Sunday.

You do NOT have to let them in, you can change the cylinder lock, write an email to the landlord and agent saying you have tried to be co-operative but they are taking the piss, so you have been forced to limit viewings to a mutually acceptable window, give them those two slots.

Also limit how many at a time, i.e. Agent and one person.

They need to vet tenants before viewings, sort the wheat from the chaff.

If they give you any outside these slots say, sorry that time is not convenient, please propose another for my consideration.

Your best reference is your bank statement showing you paid on time and a video of how you left it.

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Sue 15th September, 2017 @ 18:32

We have been tenants for just over 6 years. We have always paid our rent and have looked after the property. Over the last few weeks we have reported 2 faults,which do affect our daily lives. The landlord has refused to repair, which come as a shock as they have not refused to do any repairs prior to this. We have questioned why with the letting agents but never got anywhere and now we have been served a section 21 with 2 months notice. They are selling the property and we have let the Esate agent - which is different to the letting agent - come round and take pictures. We are feeling quite angry and upset about the way we have been treated and before we received the section 21 notice we wrote a formal letter of complaint to the Lanlord via the letting agents but havent heard back yet. We did have a AST but are now on a rolling month contract. We feel the landlord is failing in their duty as a landlord and dont understand why. I mentioned to the estate agent that we woud prefer to have arranged viewings and he said we would have to be more flexible otherwise they would get 24hrs notice and get a key form the landlord. We are now feeling inclined to refuse any viewings until after we have left the property? Are we within our rights to do this?

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David 16th September, 2017 @ 07:47

@Sue

It is a shame that you did not first report the repair to the Local Authority, had you done so then it would make your case for a "revenge eviction" much stronger. The Deregulation Act 2015 made it illegal to evict tenants because of repairs.

The first thing to do is to change the lock cylinder, you can get one of those for under £5 on eBay or about double that at Homebase/B&Q.

You are under no obligation to let anyone in except for emergency repair, e.g. gas boiler, you can decide to only let a gas certified person in by themselves without the Landlord or Agent.

Your lease may say that you have to allow inspections or allow entry for other reasons but these have to be at a time that is convenient to you. So you ask them to propose a time via email, then you simply reply "Sorry that is not convenient, please propose another time and I will check and come back to you".

Then you fire off an email to the agent telling them that you have found their viewings intrusive, disrespectful and preventing your "quiet enjoyment of the property", note the bit in quotes in the legal footing for this.

So again you say you do not wish to be harassed so they must put any requests in writing, you can say no more than one person may view at a time and that person must be accompanied by the estate agent at ALL times as well as yourself. Thieves love viewing properties looking for iPads and other things to steal.

Now you still do not have to let them in, but by putting limits on them you are establishing your position. You can also put a date and time limit on viewings, Wednesday between 7pm and 8pm or Sunday between 3pm and 4pm both with no longer than 15 minutes per viewing, again, one at a time.

You can stipulate that each viewing must have been booked in advance and the name of the visitor given, any deviation from name and they do not come in. You can just keep saying it is not convenient.

You should still report it to the Council, he may be a Landlord of other properties so you want there to be a file on him or there may already.

If you have children or are vulnerable you need to take the S21 to the Local Council Housing to see if they can get you into temporary accommodation with a view to Social Housing.

The first thing they will tell you is to check whether your deposit was protected WITHIN 30 DAYS and whether you were given the PRESCRIBED INFORMATION (PI) also within 30 days.

If the Landlord or Agent failed to do this the Landlord may have to pay you between 1x and 3x the deposit as a sanction.

Note the PI is not usually the notice form the Deposit company, it is a formal notice from the Landlord/Agent telling you exactly where the deposit is protected, how you may access it and the reference number as well as the amount and date of protection.

You can check this with each of the deposit companies by following these links

bit.ly/chkdep1

bit.ly/chkdep2

bit.ly/chkdep3

Whatever you do you need to be aware that your tenancy is over, even if this S21 is stopped it is only a matter of time.

We often find that Landlords and Agents who mistreat people are sloppy at paperwork and so it is worth checking your deposit was protected.

Meanwhile, declining to let the view will delay their sale.

If they try to intimidate you call the Police and get it on record, there are big fines for this.

Block the agents number and insist they communicate via email.

I hope you find a new home soon and that it is a better place.

There is a lesson here for other Landlords; never just send an S21 out of the blue, the loss of one's home is shocking, the least you owe your tenant is a visit and soft explanation. Especially one who has been paying you for 6 years.

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Ramya 16th September, 2017 @ 07:48

@Sue

This is bit of bad practice of both parties, good communication and
attitude goes together, some letting Agents are lazy and take short cuts,
if you fed with those who just contact let your local council housing department, or if the property has HMO licence then contact their team.

Check your rights and act accordingly. Letting Agent practice is to
contact tenants first and bring viewers in, there are procedures to follow,
respect, who pay their wages and income like that. Don't let them to turn
you when they like. Tell them that you go to local news as well. Name and
shame is the best way, I did in past, works wonders.

Good luck and stay cool.

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David 16th September, 2017 @ 07:52

@Sue

Let me be clear about the 24h notice and key threat, they cannot do it or use it, but get the lock changed first so you are in full possession.

They can only come in with 24h notice for emergency repairs, not inspection, not visit. See message above about how you can restrict this.

If they broke in while you were out you can call the police for breaking and entering, (they probably would not do this but just to put your mind at ease).

If in doubt just say NO and suggest they take you to Court for breach of contract.

Remember this is a civil matter, they have no way to enforce their contract other than going to Court, they would not get a date for months. If on the other hand they harass you that IS a criminal matter and you should call the Police.

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sue 17th September, 2017 @ 14:36

Thanks for the really useful comments. There's lots of information there we can use and we now feel a bit more in control of the situuation. I've checked he bond and it's all ok. Its Protected and we were informed so thanks. Ive checked the section 21 notices as well as me and my husband received one each. Mine has come in my maiden name as we weren't married when we first moved into the property. Should it have come in my married name and does that make it invalid? I know this is only delaying the inevitably but it would be useful to know, just in case.
There is a clause in our old tenancy agreement to allow viewings during the last 2 months during working hours and at other reasonable times. From everything I'm reading my understanding is that this isn't legally enforceable. Is this correct?

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David 17th September, 2017 @ 15:30

@Sue

Afraid that the maiden name will not help, what matters is that the actual tenant is served, however, your tenancy agreement must match Landlord name shown on PI and deposit protection, they are voided if not.

Being informed by Deposit Co is not always enough, it is worth checking you were given all PI information by the Landlord/Agent, here:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/797/article/2/made

Otherwise I am afraid it is just the way things are in this country, you can be in a place 6 years and be out in 2 months.

I have always thought that each year of residency should increase the notice period on an S21 by a month (up to max of 6 months) but if we had that Landlords would be evicting every 12 months or even every 6 months.

If you have kids or are vulnerable it is well worth a visit to your local housing office. Rents are so high that you are going to be in for a big shock in rent costs when you move.

My sister lives in a market town so not London or anything posh, she used to rent a 2 bed place for £550 in 2012, now a 1 bed place is £750 to £950. This is caused by too much demand.

Some local authorities are doing part ownership homes in conjunction with Housing Associations, worth asking.

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Jenny George 19th January, 2018 @ 18:54

Hi,

Really interesting information on here. I just wanted some clarification.

I've been served a section 21 after asking my landlord to fix the draft in the property and the mould that was spreading. The landlord said they didn't want to fix as it would be too expensive. Fair enough.

I was served notice a month before Xmas but the landlord did me a favour and gave me until the end of Jan to move out. Deposits and agencies fees are just too high in London and it's impossible for me to save that amount in so little time with a young family.

In the meantime appliances have broken (they were ancient) and the landlord refuses to repair them seeming to take joy in telling me that they don't have to repair or replace. Also I have usually always granted access whenever they want and been subjected to horrid visits where they criticise my cleaning standards of the property and various other derogatory comments.

The likelihood is that the landlord will have to go to court to have me removed from the property but I wanted to know how long will have I have from the judge granting possession to the bailiffs turning up at the door i.e. how long will I have to pack my stuff?

Thanks in advance!

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David 19th January, 2018 @ 20:00

@Jenny George

Did your Landlord give you the proper Section 21 notice (6a)?

How did he give you this notice?

When I hear stories like this I always ask the Tenant to check that the Landlord not only protected the deposit but also issued you with the Prescribed Information, BOTH needed to be done within 30 days of taking your money.

You can check online by visiting the three approved schemes

http://bit.ly/chkdep1

http://bit.ly/chkdep2

http://bit.ly/chkdep3

Simply put your name, postcode, rent amount etc.

If it has not been protected visit the link below and post there, maybe don't use your real name.

https://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/i-havent-protected-my-tenants-deposit/

If necessary I can guide you through the paperwork, but if he did not protect it you can get up to 3x the deposit plus your deposit back,

Depending on when your tenancy started your Landlord had other obligations before he could evict you, Since October 15th he had to issue you with an Energy Performance Certificate, a Gas Safety check (annually) and the Government How to Rent document.

If these were not provided even if he served a Section 21 notice it may not be valid.

Also you should report the things that need repairing to a Local Housing Officer at your Council, if you had done that in the beginning and they had issued him with an improvement notice he would not be able to evict you (known as a revenge eviction). This applies to tenancies started after Oct 2015, but will apply to all from Oct 2018.

With regard to the appliances, I would go to Freecycle.org find your area and put in a request for the appliances that are damaged. You will have to find a way to collect them but other than that they are free.

Typically IF he gets all the paperwork right and you do not leave he will have to go to Court to finalise the Eviction process, If he used Section 21 the Court Dates are quicker but the Judge can order you to leave between 14 and 42 days, you have to give Judge reason to extend, if there are no rent arrears they may well do so.

If your Landlord has NOT protected your deposit I would advise you pay no more rent until he does. At the same time inform him that you will be taking legal action for the failure to protect deposit.

After 14 to 14 days he will have to get bailiffs from the local Court, that can take from 2 to 6 weeks, but I would advise you leave before that happens, it is not pleasant.

If you have children or any reason that may make you vulnerable (mental health condition, Serious illnesses like Cancer etc) you should present yourself as homeless to the Local Authority, if you did not intentionally make yourself homeless by not paying rent then they will help you and you may be able to get access to social housing, this would likely involve some time in a temporary housing facility. These vary from Council to Council, they get you a priority on the social housing list and the rents are substantially lower than private sector.

BTW the tenancy agreement usually states that the Landlord has to keep appliances in same condition as they were when you moved in. You on the other hand are not responsible for them, especially for wear and tear.

If your deposit is in a scheme you will be able to put your side to them as to why you should have no deductions from your deposit, take pictures and video of the state of the property in case he alleges you damaged anything.

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David 19th January, 2018 @ 20:02

@Jenny George

PS. You are not obliged to allow viewings at inconvenient times and you can change the locks as long as you restore them when you leave.

A cylinder for lock can cost £3 on ebay

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Jenny George 19th January, 2018 @ 20:27

@David

Thank you so much for that information. After watching episodes of 'Can't Pay We'll Take It Away' I've been hyperventilating.

The Section 21 is valid and I've taken it to the council for them to check as well. The landlord sent it to me by post. I've been in the property for 4 years now.

Up until I asked for repairs, we'd always had a good relationship. I never asked for anything, always agreed to rent increases (mainly for fear of eviction rather than the property being worth it), paid my rent on time and allowed access at any point even if I wasn't going to be home. I also refused to repaint the whole property after I moved out so that didn't go down well.

The deposit has been protected through a deposit scheme properly.

I have a record of me asking for the repairs before being served the Section 21 and also let the council know about the mould and drafts but they didn't seem interested in getting involved at all.

I already permitted one visit this month with the landlord last week. Since serving notice they've requested access to the property every couple of weeks for trivial things. I've always accommodated but after the washing machine problem baring in mind we're a family of four so the washing machine goes on pretty much every day and the shitty emails I'm of the mindset 'access the property when I vacate'.

I've always been a good tenant and had excellent references. Never a pound deducted from my deposits so I'm amazed at how sour a relationship can go with a landlord.

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David 20th January, 2018 @ 01:08

@Jenny George

Do you know I hate those people.

Let me reassure you of a few things, those B$$$$$$$ are High Court Enforcement Officers and NOT County Court Bailiffs.

For a time the HCEO companies were breaking the law, they were using a form designed for trespassers as if it was for Tenants, until a Judge put an end to all of that. It was despicable, now they would have to jump through a lot more hoops and it is not practical and only fools would try. That does not stop them telling clients they can do it. Technically all of those tenants they evicted have an action against the companies.

Also bear in mind that TV Glams things up, if you do not let an HCEO in and you do not have any assets they are wasting their time. They try to con people into letting them in because it allows them to charge for making a list and they can make 8% a year. However, it is a dumb move for Landlords because once they get a fee, their fee comes first. I have known Landlords with a £7k tenant debt escalate to them, the debt increased to £14k, the Landlord got about £80. Eventually the tenant just got a DRO and the debt was gone.

As a family of four I am guessing you have kids so the Council has an obligation to house you. It is really worth going through that process even if you have to spend some time in temp accommodation, some are purpose built and not too bad. The Council may tell you to wait until you are evicted by bailiffs but they are not following guidance. I can point you to a letter from Minister advising the same.

So I would change the lock, then tell the Landlord that you are legally entitled to "quiet enjoyment of the property" and no more random visits will be tolerated, any attempt to enter the property without previously you previously agreeing it is convenient will be reported to the Police as Harassment.

You could say that you will entertain viewings under certain conditions that ensure your security and safety.

1. The viewings must be done by a Lettings Agent with a proper business card.
2. No more than one person may view the property at a time, a second person will have to wait until the first has left and will have to wait outside.
3. Viewings must take no more than 12 minutes.
4. Viewings will be allowed at two specific times per week but only if convenient for you. (e.g. 7pm to 8pm Wednesdays and 3pm to 4pm Sundays)
5. No more than 4 viewings may be made in these slots

If any of the above is unacceptable they may wait till you leave, as the Council is asking you to wait there is no point in viewings anyway, this just shows you are willing if it is respectful and unobtrusive.

They will not be able to force you to paint the interior, even if it is in the lease it is an unfair contract term. Again I can point you to guidance and case law on that if it is suggested to you or deposit company.

Best they can hope for is that you clean the carpets and the property, remove all your stuff and leave it the way you would like to find it. Personally I always took pride in leaving a property in excellent condition, just how I was brought up.

Councils are now being forced to take mould more seriously because of health hazard to children and adults. There is new legislation coming that will force it to be done by Landlords, Councils and Housing Associations.

Your tenancy started before Oct 2015 so the revenge eviction will not apply to you.

If your deposit was protected and the Prescribed Information given within 30 days then that is at least a good thing. You can go to the portal now and access the record, just to make sure they have the right mobile number and email for you. They will use those when you leave, either you or Landlord will make a request for the money, if he does they ask you if it is OK, if you ask they ask him if he has any objection. Ask for it the day you leave. As I said, take photos of everything, all walls, windows. the mould, the appliances. Keep copies of emails where you requested the repair of Appliances and he refused. If there are no emails, you can write to him quoting what he said on the phone and asking him to get the appliances repaired or replaced or else you will get it done hold him responsible for the cost.

If it were me I would get a quote for the mould from a specialist company and do the same.

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OCD Dave 23rd January, 2018 @ 11:31

Interesting and useful article, although I think the author is lacking empathy to tenants. Most people wouldn't like to have to allow viewings during their tenancy and unless the author is an exception, they'd be the same probably, if they were in that situation.

But if like me,you have OCD, after every viewing, I have to thoroughly clean the entire house, washing walls, doors and surfaces that have been contaminated. Some unsympathetic people would laugh at this and think I am a nutter, but you shouldn't mock the afflicted. One in four suffer from mental issues and so you might get your one day. Anyway it takes me between an hour and an hour and a half to clean every time and I expect this is going to occur numerous times because the property isn't going to sell quickly and the landlord put it on the market three months before the tenancy terminates, so potentially a lot of viewings and a lot of effort cleaning.

So this is why I went searching the net for my rights and now I have read this I will refuse viewings. Perhaps allowing them in the last week so that I am seen as reasonable and may not get punished by a withholding of my deposit.

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The Landlord 23rd January, 2018 @ 11:42

@OCD Dave,
I thought I wrote a section on "The situation from both sides", showing an objective and sympathetic view...errr... "from both sides"

I understand your situation, and can sympathise to why viewings are so difficult for you. But I also feel sympathy for the landlord, who will potentially have to deal with an extended vacant period because of your condition and the subsequent need to halt the viewings.

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David 23rd January, 2018 @ 12:21

@OCD Dave

To be honest this is a Landlord site and written from their perspective so of course it will appear a little biased, it also has the unique humour of "the Landlord" which you may not fully appreciate.

The good news is that you are protected under various laws, I would recommend you inform the agent and/or Landlord of your reasons and diagnosis, this will protect you legally.

Something along the lines of

"Dear Landlord

As you are aware I suffer from a mental health condition called OCD for which I have a diagnosis.

I have tried to accommodate you (and your agents) viewings but this is causing me considerable mental health problems which are intolerable.

After each viewing I feel the need to obsessively clean the property and cannot resolve this in my mind and end up in a profound state of anxiety.

I have spoken to my Doctor and they have advised that I stop allowing viewings to reduce the stress and anxiety they cause.

Please accept this letter as formal notice that I will no longer be allowing any viewings until the end of my tenancy.

I would remind you of my right to quiet enjoyment of the property and must caution you that any attempt to enter my home without explicit consent will be considered harassment and in such circumstances I would call the Police to bear witness pending legal action.

I am truly sorry for the inconvenience this may cause, but my mental health is beyond my control.

Yours sincerely

Dave A Tenant"

@OCD Dave if they are not aware of your diagnosis just adapt the opening paragraph to inform them.

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Bob 23rd January, 2018 @ 12:23

His condition is irrelevant. As you know and accept, he can turn down viewings just "because".

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JoJo 17th May, 2018 @ 20:03

Could someone just confirm to me a question I can't seem to find the answer to. In a nut shell here is my situation;
I'm just about to take my tenant to the small claims court after years of rental arrears. I also have considered issuing a section 21 notice but my question is, until the section 21 is served can you still ask the tenant for permission for estate agents to come in to take pictures/sizes? Shes not going to cooperate but I am not sure what the rights are.
Any information would be appreciated :)

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David 18th May, 2018 @ 08:59

@JoJo

Technically you are allowed to do what it says in your tenancy agreement if it was properly drafted by a lawyer, as long as it does not conflict with common law. I mention a Lawyer because some Landlords add all sorts of unenforcible, unfair or even illegal terms. These get passed around and shared online, so downloader beware.

For example your contract can't say that if your arrears exceed 7 days then your tenancy expires in 3 days and you may be immediately evicted by the landlord. This is because there is legislation that says you can't be made to leave a property without a Court Order. If you did the above you could be facing a £40k bill for forced eviction.

In addition to this there is case law which mostly governs how laws are interpreted, but sometimes has the impact of creating new law, until the Government draft new law. An example of this is the Deregulation Act (2015) which addressed a number of case law changes.

This is where the law leans more towards the tenant, for example she can change the locks, as long as she puts the original back in when she leaves.

She can say you are welcome to show people around or come in and take pictures when it is convenient but always say the proposed time is not convenient.

Any pressure from you or your agent can be construed as Harassment or prevention of her quiet enjoyment of the property, both can be pretty serious.

Now with regard to the S21, I know that they are the darling of some Landlords, but in the situation you describe, I would suggest you use a S8, it is what it was designed for.

S21 is a no fault accelerated eviction procedure, but there IS fault here, as a no fault procedure S21 has a lot of protection that can kill it dead, This can lose you your Court fee, forcing you to start over which typically adds 3 months.

If you do not have evidence that you provided the tenant with an EPC before the tenancy started, or you do not have evidence that you served the prescribed information relating to the deposit within 30 days, maybe your Gas Certificate expired a month before she moved in and you did not get a new one done till a week into the tenancy and even then you have no evidence that you gave her the certificate. If you did not protect the deposit or if the agent protected it and let the protection expire, then you are facing a sanction of between 1x and 3x the deposit as well as the dismissal of your S21.

Sometimes we can use a mediator to act between the Landlord and Tenant, these are usually best off when both sides have something to gain and lose. Last week we had such a case where there were substantial arrears and a failure to protect deposit, we were able to broker a settlement agreement and Tenant agreed to leave within days. Landlord was able to get income immediately on AirBnB and Tenant was relieved to avoid Court, a CCJ and eviction.

A mediator comes at this from an unbiased position, as such they are able to help both parties get the best mutually beneficial solution.

A section 21 requires you serve at least 2 months notice, then when it has expired you ask the Court for a so called quick date because it is an accelerated procedure. Still the tenant has to be served and Court availability is going to vary around the Country.

Now consider a Section 8, just 14 days notice,available here for £4 if you like DIY or further options below:

https://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/section-8-evicting-tenants/

then you ask for your Court date online here:

https://www.possessionclaim.gov.uk/pcol/

With S8 your tenant has given you mandatory grounds to evict her (Ground 8), as long as the arrears remain more than 2 months then the Judge MUST evict her, their only flexibility is allowing 14 to 42 days for the Tenant to leave, at which point you can instruct County Court Bailiffs.

There is a risk that the tenant will reduce the arrears, but to be honest for some tenants, that may be your best hope for ever getting the arrears. That is what this law was designed for, it gets the arrears down to something manageable and it gives the Tenant a chance to avoid losing their home.

Even if they get the arrears down to below the 2 months, you still have discretionary grounds such as the repeated late or non payment of rent (G11) and ANY amount of rent being in arrears at the date of service of the notice and remaining unpaid on the date on which the proceedings for possession are begun.

There may be other grounds such as antisocial behavior, but you will need evidence but here is a list of all grounds:

https://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/section-8-evicting-tenants/#grounds

If you want this all done for you then you can use the link below to get Notice done for £79 (£20 off) and the Court evidence prep for £429 (£20 off) there is a currently a code on the following page that gets you those discounts.

https://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/landlord-legal-advice-tenant-problems/

If you want to discuss your case with me you can join the Landlord Forum by clicking the "Landlord Forum" link at the top of the page or following this link

https://www.landlordforumproject.co.uk

Once you have joined you need to click on the link sent via email, then log in to the site and click on the following link to send me a private message:

http://bit.ly/davidpip

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