A few days ago there was a little debate on Twitter about whether a landlord or letting agent had the right to enter an occupied rental property during the last month of the fixed term to take viewings, without providing notice to the tenant.
To me, even as a landlord, that instantly seemed 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’ written notice to the tenant, regardless of how long was left for the tenancy to end. Moreover, the tenant should grant access, otherwise it might be deemed as trespassing.
This doesn’t just apply for viewings, but access in general, including for inspections and repairs.
Unfortunately, the resistance continued to disagree. Alas, I had a pointless battle on my hands. They were 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 because that’s what a clause in the tenancy agreement permitted.
Jesus Christ. Do they even realise how many bullshit clauses (which aren’t legally enforceable) regularly get crammed into tenancy agreements? If they were all legally enforceable, tenant’s would be paying £1,000 penalties for being one day late on rent.
In any case, don’t take my word for it, or the word of the resistance…
Right to “quiet enjoyment”
Landlords are under an implied obligation to give the tenant quiet enjoyment of the property. This basically means that the landlord must not interfere (or allow anyone else to interfere) with the tenant’s enjoyment of the property.
Source: Levi Solicitors
Your landlord has to give you at least 24 hours’ notice and visit at a reasonable time of day, unless it’s an emergency and they need immediate access.
Source: GOV UK
Any right the landlord has to go in will be dependent on the landlord giving the tenant written notice first.
Indeed, any clause which authorises the landlord to go in whenever he likes will be void under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 – as it will be taking away a right which a tenant normally enjoys.
The general rule is that the notice must not be for less than 24 hours.
If the tenant refuses entry
Here the landlord should not enter. He should try to re-arrange the appointment.
Source: Landlord law blog
Make of that what you will.
The exception to the rule
From what I’m aware, the only exception whereby a landlord or someone acting on the landlord’s behalf, can enter the premises without prior notice or permission, is in the event of an emergency. For example, a fire or a burst pipe.
If your tenant won’t give you 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 feel like your landlord is breaching your right ‘quiet enjoyment’ rights, you can seek free legal advice from Citizens Advice.
Disclaimer: I'm just a landlord blogger; I'm 100% not qualified to give legal or financial advice. I'm a doofus. Any information I share is my unqualified opinion, and should never be construed as professional legal or financial advice. You should definitely get advice from a qualified professional for any legal or financial matters. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.