A few days ago there was a little debate on Twitter about whether a landlord or letting agent had the right to enter a tenant’s property during the last month of the fixed term to take viewings, without giving notice to the tenant.
To me, that instantly seemed pretty ridiculous. I was pretty adamant that the Landlord and/or letting agent didn’t have the right to enter the property without giving at least 24 hours’ notice to the tenant, regardless of how long was left for the tenancy to end.
Unfortunately, the resistance continued to disagree, and I had a battle on my hands. They were still adamant that the landlord or agent had the right to enter the property to take viewings at their own will during the last month of the fixed term tenancy.
Meh, eventually I started to question myself after being explicitly told I was incorrect, and also because Landlord Law isn’t my strong point. Anyways, I started digging around on the Direct Gov website and eventually found what I was looking for.
What access rights does the landlord have?
The landlord or agent has the legal right to enter the property at reasonable times of day to carry out the repairs for which the landlord is responsible and to inspect the condition and state of the repair of the property. The Landlord must give 24 hours’ notice in writing of an inspection.
The tenant has the legal right to live in the property as his or her home. The Landlord must ask the tenant’s permission before entering the premises.
Should these responsibilities and rights be included in the tenancy agreement?
Statutory responsibilities and rights will apply to you and the tenant even if they are not included in the tenancy agreement.
So from that, it’s clear that tenants are required to have 24 hours notice before the landlord, agent or anyone on behalf of the landlord can enter the premises. However, the tenant must grant permission. (Update: since this blog post was published, I’ve written a much more elaborate post on tenants rights on viewings/allowing access).
The tenant’s right to live in quiet enjoyment is a statutory right. Failing to give tenants that right could lead to landlord prosecution for harassment. Statutory rights cannot be revoked or overwritten. So for example, if your tenancy agreement states that the tenant MUST allow for viewings during the last month of the tenancy, it probably won’t make a single bit of difference- it cannot be legally enforced.
The Exception to the rule
There is an exception to the rule, as always. Only under a situation that can be deemed as an “emergency” may the Landlord enter without permission. This will include situations like a burst pipe or fire.
My tenant won’t allow me access
If you’re in the unfortunate possession of being refused access to your property, whether it be for a regular inspection or maintenance work, find out what options are available and what steps to take next over at the “My Tenant won’t let me into the property” blog post.
If you require legal advice on the matter, I highly recommend contacting your local Citizens Advice for free legal advice!
Disclaimer: I'm just a simple landlord blogger, I am not qualified to give legal or financial advice. Any advice I give is my opinion based on my experience, and is never legal or professional advice. You should always get professional advice on any legal and financial matters!