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.

Tessa Shepperson, from The Landlord Law blog, says the following on the matter:

It means that they [the tenant] are entitled to live in the property without interference from the landlord or anyone acting on his behalf (such as his letting agent).

There is also another legal rule which says that “a landlord may not derogate from his grant“.

This means, effectively, that a landlord cannot grant a tenancy and then expect to be able to treat the property as if it was his.

So the law is (or should be) on the side of the tenant if he wants to keep his landlord out.

‘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!

178 Comments- Join The Conversation...

Showing 128 - 178 comments (out of 178)
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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 Avatar
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/

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Graham 4th February, 2019 @ 04:31

We are a private landlord. Currently meeting our home through a well known High Street Estate Agent.

We have given them the required two months notice that we need possession of our property and they have served the teanant wth the section 21.

We have a position date for 5th of February 2019,but with out any communication with us the teanant has gone to the council with a number of complaints. We believe has done this purely as tactic not to leave the property.

The council have sent an officer into our home with out our knowledge or permission and have issued a notice of improvement.

Do we really have to comply with this?, And even if we do,, When can we have a possession of our home.

Thanks for your help..

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Bob 4th February, 2019 @ 10:21

Graham,

The Council can enter if the tenant lets them. It isn't your decision.
The Council obviously believe that there is a case to answer. You probably must comply, though it may be that the tenant should have made the complaints before the S21 was issued, but I'm unsure of that.
I hope the tenant has had two months' notice too, and not just the agency.

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Graham 4th February, 2019 @ 11:13

Yes we contacted our agent back in Nov. 2018 and we asked them to gave the tenant notice to vacate. We know that the agent issued the notice in Nov.27,2018.And we a date o possession which is tomorrow 5th of Feb 2019. We feel that the only reason the teanant went to the council was to use this as a tactic to stay in our home. We have been given no opportunity to address any of the point on the improvement notice.

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Simon Pambin 4th February, 2019 @ 11:30

As I understand it, the "anti revenge eviction" provisions of Section 21 only apply where the tenant has raised the problem before the Section 21 notice was served. See: https://www.propertyinvestmentproject.co.uk/blog/new-section-21-regulations-2015-landlords-england/

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Bob 4th February, 2019 @ 11:44

Thanks, Simon. I thought that may be the case but I was wavering.

In any case, the tenant will able to stay until removed by a court order.

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Graham 4th February, 2019 @ 12:51

Is Section 21 notice needs a court order, to gain the possession of our property? We are unaware of this that is still need a court order.

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Bob 4th February, 2019 @ 13:25

Yes, Graham. I'm afraid a section 21 does not end a tenancy. Many tenants would leave within the notice period, but they can choose not to. If that happens, you will need a Possession Order (which a judge would almost certainly grant). Even then, however, the tenant may choose to stay until you instruct a bailiff to remove them.
All this could take another few months.

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David 4th February, 2019 @ 13:44

@Graham

The Council usually inform the Landlord to attend with them or else risk being in breach of Part 5 of Section 239 of the Housing Act 2004

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/34/section/239

(5)Before entering any premises in exercise of the power conferred by subsection (3), the authorised person or proper officer must have given at least 24 hours' notice of his intention to do so—

(a)to the owner of the premises (if known), and

(b)to the occupier (if any).

The IF KNOWN is a get out clause and they usually use electoral databases and send notices where they think appropriate, they might also check the Land Registry.

If you were not informed you should ask them to confirm where served such notices and what other steps they took to find you, e.g. Tenancy Agreement of Tenant (this may show the agent but your address for service should be provided)

They can also get out of it by virtue of part 6 & 7 if they think an offence is being committed.

(6)Subsection (7) applies where the local housing authority consider that any premises need to be entered for the purpose of ascertaining whether an offence has been committed under section 72, 95 or 234(3).

(7)A person authorised by the local housing authority may enter the premises for that purpose—

(a)at any reasonable time, but

(b)WITHOUT giving any prior notice as mentioned in subsection (5).

If you attend they may ask you or the Tenant to wait outside if there is animosity between Landlord and Tenant. Some Councils do use the Improvement Order process as a way to make a quick £500, you may appeal it BTW.

I would be putting in a complaint to the Council asking why you were not informed you can also seek their procedure for appeal, if they do one before external one is done.

You do not say what the Improvement Order requires to be done, you need to establish whether it is something the tenant did, was wear or tear or a fault you are liable for. I have seen cases where tenants damaged or removed smoke alarms, removed doors, damaged central heating boiler in order to make the Landlord liable.

This highlights the importance of a thorough check-in inventory with video evidence AND regular inspections as hopefully defined in the agreement. Sadly some agents are completely hopeless at inspections thinking that a quick check of seals around bath and kitchen units are enough, yet they tick 20 boxes saying they checked stuff.

So you need to contact the agent to ask them for copies of all the inspections, also get them to write/sign a witness statement to the effect that the alleged damage was caused by the tenant as was in good order on X date to the best of their knowledge.

Of course if there is a volley of emails sent back and forth between agent and tenant saying there is no hot water, then you are obviously at fault.

With regard to the validity of the S21, whilst the validity depends on whether an improvement or emergency remedial notice has been served it can also be affected by whether the Tenant wrote to you about the issue that is referred to in the said notice. If they wrote to you (or your Agent) then you should have replied within 14 days, confirming or dismissing the problem and/or informing them when the repairs would be carried out.

If you failed to respond and the Council then issue an Improvement/Emergency notice then the S21 notice is invalid, in which case your only option is to get the Council to withdraw the notice. I warn you they are loathe to do this as in their mind they paid for their Officer to visit so they usually let it go to appeal in the knowledge that your S21 is invalid and it might reduce any obligation on them to house the tenant (assuming they are vulnerable).

Note you will be unable to issue a new S21 for 6 months which will put you in a new territory.

I should warn you that the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 was enacted on 20th December 2018 and will take effect from 20th March 2018 for most parts (9 Months later for Pre-Act SPT's) . This Act updates the Landlord and Tenant Act and generally affects the following areas:

Freedom from damp
Facilities for disposal of waste water
Facilities for preparation and cooking of food
Internal arrangement
Drainage and sanitary conveniences
Natural lighting
Repair
Stability
Ventilation
Water supply

There are 29 Housing Hazards

http://bit.ly/s9hazards

an easier to read online version was created by Stafford Borough Council

http://bit.ly/29hazards

A Landlord Guide was produced by Derby Council Here

http://bit.ly/llhazard

The one that is likely to get most complaints is going to be Damp and Mould, the Act says the Tenant must act in a Tenant like manner, I expect there to be the usual arguments about whether the damp is caused by tenants with drying of clothes or the Landlord who has an external problem such as guttering, leaks, damp proof course et al.

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Bob 4th February, 2019 @ 13:53

Ah. I do beg your pardon.
In hindsight I should have said 'wait until David replies". Rookie mistake.
Apologies.

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Graham 4th February, 2019 @ 14:14

Thanks David..

We have an email from the council officer who went to our home telling us he sent his report to our estate agent brownandmerry 5 or 6 weeks ago. Neither a council officer nor the estate agents bothered to sent a copy to us. The council officer also write in his email that brownandmerry told him that we would not pay for any works to be done, As we were completely unaware that the tenant had spoken to the council at all,we have been given no opportunity to discuss any improvements or to obtain any quotes.

As we are currently in the Philippines and had been making the necessary arrangements to return to the UK. We now find ourselves in the position of being homeless if we were to return to the UK.

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David 4th February, 2019 @ 20:14

@Graham

So if they failed to write to you or your Agent it does put them in a difficult position to rely upon to defend from eviction in Court. As mentioned above if the Improvement Notice comes AFTER the S21 it can only make the S21 Notice Invalid if you first failed to respond to request for repair

This is where S33(2) of the Deregulation Act 2015 comes in

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/20/section/33/enacted

(2) A section 21 notice given in relation to an assured shorthold tenancy of a dwelling-house in England is invalid where—

(a) BEFORE the section 21 notice was given, the tenant made a complaint in writing to the landlord regarding the condition of the dwelling-house at the time of the complaint,

(b)the landlord—

(i)did not provide a response to the complaint within 14 days beginning with the day on which the complaint was given,

(ii)provided a response to the complaint that was not an adequate response, or

(iii)gave a section 21 notice in relation to the dwelling-house following the complaint.

(c)the tenant THEN made a complaint to the relevant local housing authority about the SAME, or substantially the same, subject matter as the complaint to the landlord,

(d)the relevant local housing authority served a relevant notice in relation to the dwelling-house in response to the complaint, and

(e)if the section 21 notice was not given BEFORE the tenant’s complaint to the local housing authority, it was given before the service of the relevant notice.

So you can see how each of the Acts depends on the conditions in the other.

If as your Agent said, they have not made a complaint to you or your Agent and given you 14 days to reply then you can hardly be expected to make the repair.

Also it can hardly be a retaliation if there was no complaint in the first place and that is what S33 is about AKA revenge evictions.

So based on what you SAY and without any view of the paperwork, you must comply with the Improvement Order if they stay unless you can get them to withdraw it, if the tenant leaves and you move back in then you can probably get them to withdraw it, but still may have to pay their fee.

Either way, the S21 is valid and you should now write to the tenant and say.

"Dear Ms Tenant

As you have been advised by our Agent you have made no complaint to me or them in regard to the matters you reported to the Council.

You are required to do this under S33(2)(a) the deregulation Act 2015

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/20/section/33/enacted

which clearly states

(a)before the section 21 notice was given, the tenant made a complaint in writing to the landlord regarding the condition of the dwelling-house at the time of the complaint,

Had you made such a complaint we would have of course addressed it.

The Act also says such a complaint would need to be about the SAME issue:

(c)the tenant then made a complaint to the relevant local housing authority about the same, or substantially the same, subject matter as the complaint to the landlord,

Therefore I am writing to inform you that our S21 Notice remains valid regardless of the Improvement Order of the Council and you should leave by the expiry of the notice which is tomorrow the 5th of Feb 2019.

If you fail to leave I will be forced to ask the Court to issue a Possession Order which can be enforced by Bailiffs. I will also ask the Court for my costs in this matter (estimated to be around £2100) and if these are awarded but not paid you will receive a County Court Judgement which may affect your ability to obtain credit and a future tenancy agreement. If I am forced to take such action I will escalate the CCJ to the High Court which will then be enforced by High Court Enforcement Officers for the debt and this could push that debt very much higher.

The S21 procedure is an accelerated procedure which means it will be heard promptly by the Court, which makes your attempt to delay futile.

Please take your own legal advice and if you feel the Council owes you a duty of care to house you in temporary accommodation pending their review of your vulnerability then remind them of this and feel free to give them a copy of this letter.

If you are not classed as vulnerable I suggest you look on AirBnB which usually has accommodation available at short notice.

We have always wanted to resolve this matter amicably, we gave you considerable notice with the notice being served on November 27th 2018, so we are very disappointed that you have tried this stunt to delay matters.

Please inform me of your intentions and let our agent know if you are prepared to leave on the 5th February, in which case we will consider providing you with a positive reference.

Yours sincerely

Graham Landlord"

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Dan 4th April, 2019 @ 17:01

Hello,

I would appreciate everyone's thoughts on our situation. We have just given notice to end our tenancy. There is a clause in our tenancy agreement that states that the landlord or his agent can, having given 24 hours notice and during reasonable hours in daylight, enter the property for the purpose of viewings, repairs and inspections.

We have asked whether viewings can be arranged during weekends or evenings only, so that we can be present, as we have had a negative experience with viewings in our absence in the past. The response we received was that the landlord does not conduct viewings in the evenings, and if we don't offer more times for them to complete viewings, they have the right to "insist" on completing them at any given time, with or without our presence and explicit consent, so long as they email us 24 hours in advance.

I am curious as to whether this is a breach of quiet enjoyment, what constitutes "reasonable" hours, and whether, ultimately, we can refuse permission for viewings despite having signed an agreement containing the above clause on viewings. Even then, we would only look refuse times at which we could not be present.

Apologies if some of this has already been covered above, but would appreciate feedback on this.

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Bob 4th April, 2019 @ 19:07

Others will put it better than me, but they have no right to insist on viewings at all.

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David 4th April, 2019 @ 23:25

@Dan

Yes it has been covered many times it may be worth your while reading through previous comments, your tenancy agreement is likely to have a term saying you will do this or you will do that, but the reality is that no term may override common law or it becomes an unfair contract term.

They can INSIST all they like but you need to put your foot down and say

Dear Landlord

I am disappointed with your response and I am sorry but we are exercising our right to quiet enjoyment of the property.

I have established that these rights enable us to enjoy our tenancy without hindrance and under the law you are only entitled to enter the property IN A GENUINE EMERGENCY after informing us of said emergency.

Viewings are not a right and although you have put them in the tenancy agreement they are contrary to common and case law, as such they are unenforceable and any attempt to enter our property will be considered trespass and harassment.

As you have not been reasonable in granting my request I have changed the locks, the old ones will be refitted undamaged at the end of our tenancy.

We would like to reach an amicable agreement to when and how viewings may be carried out. From now on we will entertain viewings under the conditions below that ensure our security and safety.

1. The viewings must be done by a Lettings Agent with a proper business card or yourself.
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, from 7pm to 8pm Wednesdays and 3pm to 4pm Sundays, all viewings must be pre-booked with us at least 48h ahead of these times, to make sure they are still convenient.
5. No more than 4 viewings may be made in these slots

I hope you will understand that these are sensible precautions and conditions, any attempt to breach these conditions will not only be deemed as harassment but it will immediately cease any further viewing until we have left the property.

Yours sincerely

Dan Tenant"

===================

When you take on a tenancy the property is effectively yours albeit that you must look after the property in accordance with the terms in the tenancy agreement.

If the Landlord is unreasonable in their response just do not agree to let them in at all, if they turn up and are aggressive call the Police and say that someone is trying to break into your property - do not give further information, just ask them to attend as you are in fear. When they arrive have them ask the Landlord to leave and point out that they are in breach of the Harassment Act 2007 which carries a £5000 fine and can be a criminal offence if it continues. Note you MUST NOT respond to the aggression of the Landlord.

Not all Policemen are aware of the Law, do not accept any BS from a Policeman telling you that you have to allow then in, the tenancy agreement is a civil matter, you are simply asking the Police to keep the peace and prevent public order offences being committed by the Landlord. Do this in person NOT on the phone, when on the phone LESS IS MORE.

I know this can feel intimidating, but start by changing the locks of all external access to the property, a cylinder costs £3 on ebay and same for patio door cylinders.

Remember your Landlord's problems are not your problems, they want to reduce the void but you are entitled to the full and quiet enjoyment of your property until the day you leave.

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Shehzaad Shams 16th May, 2019 @ 17:11

Hi All,
We are pressed to an extremely stressful situation by our current landlord. We are renting and our tenancy ends on 31st of May, but we requested extension for just 8 days to which landlord initially agreed with pro-rated rent to be paid.

Now with viewings, we have been very flexible to allow them any time during weekdays. Its only the Saturday when we said we can't accept viewings because on Saturdays we have a lactation specialist cum sleep trainer who comes to attend our small boy of 2 months and we really need uninterrupted sessions with the baby and the trainer.

Landlord had been very insensitive, persistent and exploitative so much so that they have told us that they now want us to vacate on by 31st May and if we have to stay the 8 days extra, we have to pay a full month's rent to make up for the loss they have faced because we didn't allow Saturday viewings. They have also said that being flexible during weekdays anytime for viewing is not flexible enough, its the Saturday viewings where most new tenants are.

Can someone please give me any advice what I can do now with my little family?

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David 17th May, 2019 @ 21:10

@Shehzaad

From what you say it seems that you have no legal agreement to hold them to for the 8 days.

The fact is you have been entirely reasonable and your Landlord is being unreasonable, so the only thing you can do it push back hard and refuse to do any more viewings.

Regardless of any term in the contract (which would be unenforceable as deemed an unfair contract term) you are entitled to quiet enjoyment of the property until the end of your tenancy.

I would advise you temporarily change the lock cylinder so that they can't come in when you are out.

Your backup for 8 days is called AirBnB, but I suspect that your Landlord will agree to the 8 days to prevent the void he would have if you no longer allow viewings.

If you contact me via the forum I can draft you a letter and then a firm agreement for the 8 days which we will offer him in return for weekday visits after taking them away.

To contact me via the forum Click where is says Landlord forum at top of page or visit

https://www.landlordforumproject.co.uk

Once you register on that forum and have confirmed your email

you can click on this link to private message me:

http://bit.ly/davidpip

It will be at the bottom of left menu.

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David 17th May, 2019 @ 21:13

@Shehzaad

I have posted you a reply but it seems to have been caught up in the moderation queue for the site owner

He should approve it presently.

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Charlotte 25th June, 2019 @ 10:48

As a tenant who’s landlord is selling I just found your post. I work from home (with landlord permission), both during the day and evenings. I’m also a single mum of 4 kids. I respectfully want the house to be spotless and presentable for viewings, but arranging them around my schedule and making extra effort to keep clean and tidy, all whilst preparing to move, is super stressful. I suggested to my landlord that they reduce the rent by 10% for the last couple of months and that I’d employ a cleaner so the house is always presentable and they declined. So I allow them one evening per week for viewings and they still complain. It’s a really tough call for both parties but I pay over 30k a year to live here, they’ve had in excess of 160k from me and I resent both the intrusion and lack of flexibility.

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Bob 25th June, 2019 @ 11:40

Charlotte, you can do as you please. Many won't like that, but its true. You can allow as many or as few viewings as you like, whenever you like.

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Patty 1st August, 2019 @ 19:21

Great article. I am a six year tenant. Gave notice. Landlord decided to sell as they have no time to take care of maintenance and they are losing me, the “for all intents & purposes” property manager. Now I have people traipsing thru five days a week, and scattered all thru weekend. Each visit averages 45 minutes. So over if. I can’t even pack! And she knows this property shows like a beautiful & pristine (say OCD tenant) museum while I am in it. I finally told her today this is too much. I cant help her sell this as she literally uses up my last thirty days of rent ( $1800) to show her house. Btw - the damn house looks better than when I moved in. Painted. Backsplash. Grouting. Caulking. Actual working outlets. Your advice to be a good landlord is spot on. And only because I am too proud to show a dirty house has she been so fortunate. But now the ugly tenant is raising her head. :(

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David 1st August, 2019 @ 19:24

@Patty

The advice and comments here are for UK, your use of $ makes me think you are in USA.

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Patty 1st August, 2019 @ 19:42

Ahhh yes. I am in USA. :(

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Gwyneth 13th September, 2019 @ 14:34

A relative with two children and partner has rented the same property for ten years. Never in arrears decorated and carpeted at their own expense. The landlord never registered himself ( they live in Wales) and was very friendly. Sadly he died and the estate is now waiting probate. This was the kickstart the relative needed and they have found a house to buy. The original contract has now become a monthly rolling contract. They do not want to give the executors notice until the survey comes back ok on the proposed new home. However the executors are now asking for estate agents to be allowed to see the rented property, as they want to sell. Do my relatives have the same rights as all other tennants i.e to restrict or deny access to estate agents and viewers?

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David 13th September, 2019 @ 14:54

@Gwyneth

The terms of an SPT are identical to the AST except in Term and Notice, but regardless of either the right to "Quiet enjoyment of the property" is now established from case law going back to the 1960's.

They may have clauses to the contrary but they are unenforceable and in some cases even void.

The best way for they to ensure their rights are to first change the cylinder in the locks of exterior doors (cheap ones on ebay) and restore them before they depart so that there cannot be any obligation on the Landlord (although most decent Landlords change the locks between tenancies for security reasons).

They should then drop a note to the Landlord (executor in your case) and say that they are only allowing viewings at a particular time and on certain days or not at all. They can limit the number of people coming in at a time (to avoid theft) and insist that they are accompanied (for safety). One reason to withdraw is when agents are late and expect the tenant to take the viewing. The time viewing can also be limited, it does not take more than 12 minutes to view a property and some I know limit it to 5 minutes.

If the Landlord was required to be registered and was not (in the last 12 months) there may be an opportunity to negotiate a settlement with the Executor and the same if the deposit was not protected and the legislation not followed.

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Shirleys77 21st September, 2019 @ 10:38

We informed our landlord’s letting agents in June that we were in the process of buying a house and so would need to transfer to a rolling contract, if possible, at the end of our tenancy agreement (12 months, which ended in July 2019). The agents said they would contact the landlord and come back to us. They never did. July, we contacted the agents again to make them aware that we were nearing exchange of contracts with our new house purchase, and still didn’t receive a reply from them. Last month we gave formal notice to say that we had exchanged contracts and would be ending the tenancy once the month’s rent we have paid for terminates (mid October), which they agreed to. We complete on the house on the 24th September and are hoping to move out on the 30th.

We have never received a new contract, after the old one expires in July, with new terms. The agents are being rather forceful about bringing viewers in, which we agreed to at first. Although, they have basically been telling us when they are coming, and not asking. When viewings take place, I go out with the dog (usually in the car) for 15 minutes or so. They are in the daytime so my husband is at work. Yesterday, the agent had said he had one viewing at 10:00am so I duly took the dog out for a drive in the car. I was gone 25 minutes, but came back to still find cars on the drive. I thought it a bit strange but just left and drove round for a bit longer. After 45 minutes, the cars were still there. Come 11:00, an elderly couple turned up, got out of their car on my drive, pointed to the sign and duly walked up to the front door to be let in by the agent!! He and his viewers were in my home for a total time of one hour and 15 minutes, which I think is totally unacceptable. Especially, when we weren’t asked if this could happen. I complained to the Lettings agency and the letting agent emailed me to “apologise” whilst making excuses that he thought I was aware of the viewing at 10:30, and that he then had somebody else wanting to view and, as he couldn’t get hold of either of us, decided to put them on the end of the other two viewings and tell them to come at 11:00. Again, without telling us. Neither of us knew anything about the 10:30 or 11:00 viewings and neither of us had received any missed calls, messages or emails.

On entering the house: the double doors had been left unlocked, the shower scrunchie thing that I use to wash myself with in the shower had been taken from it’s hanging place and put in the bath, there was a small blood smear on the fridge door, (the fridge is the landlord’s but has our own things in and on it), and now I’ve noticed grubby fingertip marks above our bed where there is a crack on the ceiling. I’m furious with the letting agency and don’t want them bringing any more viewings in until we have moved out. We will be going on the 30th September, which leaves them around 10 days of completely empty house to conduct viewings in whenever they like. The agent is still constantly ringing and emailing telling us when he wants to bring viewers round. I have anxiety and, to be frank, this is making me ill. We have enough to worry about with trying to pack everything, without trying to keep the house clean and tidy and having them round at the drop of a hat. We have been very accommodating with them over the past year and it feels that, since we’ve handed our notice in, they don’t care about our rights anymore.

Given that we don’t have a contract, as the previous one ended in July, how can I word an email to the letting agent to inform him that no further viewings will be taking place until we have vacated the property?

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Bob 21st September, 2019 @ 10:55

You still have a contract. Your fixed term contract became a rolling contract automatically, assuming you have an assured shorthold tenancy.
You can any email however you wish, just make it clear there'll be no more viewings. You're perfectly within your rights to do that.

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Shirleys77 21st September, 2019 @ 15:57

We informed our landlord’s letting agents in June that we were in the process of buying a house and so would need to transfer to a rolling contract, if possible, at the end of our tenancy agreement (12 months, which ended in July 2019). The agents said they would contact the landlord and come back to us. They never did. July, we contacted the agents again to make them aware that we were nearing exchange of contracts with our new house purchase, and still didn’t receive a reply from them. Last month we gave formal notice to say that we had exchanged contracts and would be ending the tenancy once the month’s rent we have paid for terminates (mid October), which they agreed to. We complete on the house on the 24th September and are hoping to move out on the 30th.

We have never received a new contract, after the old one expires in July, with new terms. The agents are being rather forceful about bringing viewers in, which we agreed to at first. Although, they have basically been telling us when they are coming, and not asking. When viewings take place, I go out with the dog (usually in the car) for 15 minutes or so. They are in the daytime so my husband is at work. Yesterday, the agent had said he had one viewing at 10:00am so I duly took the dog out for a drive in the car. I was gone 25 minutes, but came back to still find cars on the drive. I thought it a bit strange but just left and drove round for a bit longer. After 45 minutes, the cars were still there. Come 11:00, an elderly couple turned up, got out of their car on my drive, pointed to the sign and duly walked up to the front door to be let in by the agent!! He and his viewers were in my home for a total time of one hour and 15 minutes, which I think is totally unacceptable. Especially, when we weren’t asked if this could happen. I complained to the Lettings agency and the letting agent emailed me to “apologise” whilst making excuses that he thought I was aware of the viewing at 10:30, and that he then had somebody else wanting to view and, as he couldn’t get hold of either of us, decided to put them on the end of the other two viewings and tell them to come at 11:00. Again, without telling us. Neither of us knew anything about the 10:30 or 11:00 viewings and neither of us had received any missed calls, messages or emails.

On entering the house: the double doors had been left unlocked, the shower scrunchie thing that I use to wash myself with in the shower had been taken from it’s hanging place and put in the bath, there was a small blood smear on the fridge door, (the fridge is the landlord’s but has our own things in and on it), and now I’ve noticed grubby fingertip marks above our bed where there is a crack on the ceiling. I’m furious with the letting agency and don’t want them bringing any more viewings in until we have moved out. We will be going on the 30th September, which leaves them around 10 days of completely empty house to

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David 22nd September, 2019 @ 22:21

@Shirleys77

Copy and adapt the letter I wrote in post 156

Otherwise feel free to contact me via PM on the forum using instructions in Post 158.

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shaun MacLean 2nd April, 2020 @ 18:51

My tenant has been served a section 21. The exit date shown on the Section 21 is the 25th of April 2020. The tenant has informed my estate agents that she will not be moving on that date. The section 21 was delivered prior to the virus lockdown and so am I right in assuming that the exit date is valid?
Would I be legally entitled to enter the property on the 25th or 26th of April 2020 and show future tenants?

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 2nd April, 2020 @ 18:53

@Shuan,
Assuming the notice was served properly, then yes, it's still valid.

You can't force entry, if that's what you're asking. The tenant must grant access...

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Bob 2nd April, 2020 @ 19:07

Shaun, effectively all this means is you'll have to go to court to seek a possession order if they don't go. They're under no legal obligation to go until a court order says they must. Indeed, they can stay until the next step, which would be you instructing bailiffs to remove them. At that point, they will be removed for sure.
You have no right of entry without the tenant's permission until bailiffs are involved.

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David 2nd April, 2020 @ 19:26

@shaun MacLean

Regardless of Virus a S21 requires a Court Order to evict, if her tenancy has expired then a new Statutory Periodic will be created in law as per usual.

She will NOT be moving, ALL eviction hearings are cancelled, initially for 3 months but probably until at least September, so all Section 21 notices are void, they will have expired under Dereg act anyway.

Any new S21 must have 3 months notice but again the Courts will not be hearing cases, but knock yourself out and serve the new Covid19 version of the S21. They will be told to ignore it if they take advice.

So no do not assume the exit date was valid, it was never an exit date, more like a "hoped for date" but if a tenant does not go all it means is that you need to go to Court to get eviction but as I said that will not be happening.

The common law rights of Quiet enjoyment of a property trump any terms in your agreement. You definitely do NOT have any right of entry to the property. There is a right for emergency access FOR A GAS SAFE ENGINEER but not you in the event of a real emergency.

You would be not only wasting your time having viewings but you need to be careful of your conduct, because it is a thin line to a harassment claim.

You do not even have a confirmed date of exit so there is no valid reason to show new tenants and these are always done by mutual agreement with the tenant and they can just say no. I advise them to be co-operative if they are going but maybe to limit it to two windows a week because agents are bloody inconsiderate.

My advice is forget it. If your tenant has arrears and is on housing benefit, after 6 weeks of arrears you can apply to Council or JCP for it to be paid directly to you.

You can also ask your lender for a 3 month holiday on your mortgage if you have one.

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Benji 2nd April, 2020 @ 20:42

"so all Section 21 notices are void"

No they aren't.
In this case Shaun can start court action using his existing section 21 up until August (depending on date served).
Although it would be prudent to keep serving new section 21's monthly from now on.

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Benji 2nd April, 2020 @ 20:44

"You definitely do NOT have any right of entry to the property."

Yes you do.

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Benji 2nd April, 2020 @ 20:46

"after 6 weeks of arrears you can apply..."

It's 8 weeks in the sense you mean, although you can ask before.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 2nd April, 2020 @ 21:37

@Benji
You had a pop at me once for replying to each person in different comments.

You just replied to the same person in 3 separate comments.

Muppet!

@David
The normal section 21 notices will still be valid if served before the 27th March [for the usual 6 months].

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