Letting L into flat - what must I allow?

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  • Letting L into flat - what must I allow?

    Hi,
    I'm for the first time renting in the UK, so I need some information on what a landlord/letting agent may do, and what he can't do. I've been living in my flat for 18months now and still have a contract for another 18months - so far without any problems on either side.

    Now, the letting agent has changed policy and "as a service for the landlord" provides regular checks on the flats.

    In my contract it is written, that I've to give the landlord access to the flat after a 24hrs notice, which is in general completely normal (for repairs, maintanance etc.)

    However, I've now been informed that they indent to do inspections every 3 months without special cause.

    Can they do that and do I have to allow it?

    I am surely not hiding anything, but this planned assault on my private life highly disturbs me and would be non-acceptable in the areas I've been born (Central Europe).

    What rights do I have as tenent to protect my privacy? Can I not prevent a stranger (to me) from coming and checking through my rooms?

    In fact, what is seen as "policy" by my landlord would be illegal in my home country. (One has to grant access for repairs and during the period of move-out, and one is fully responsible for damage caused by not-reported failures.)

    Can the letting-agent place those "checks" on an arbitrary time-scale?
    Every 3-months, every month, every week, daily ?

    And who do I have to permit entry?
    The landlord?,
    his agent?,
    all members of the agency?
    any sub-contractor of the agency?

    It is my understanding, that the agent has a sub-contractor performing those "checks" for him.

  • #2
    The law says that the tenant is entitled to "quiet enjoyment" - this means living at the property without interference from the landlord.

    Regardless of the terms in the contract, you can refuse to allow the landlord/agent/contractor access to the property. There are two exception to this: 1) the landlord can enter without your permission in an emergency, e.g. the property is on fire, 2) the landlord may obtain a court order requiring you to give him access, but this is quite unlikely to happen.

    You are also entitled to change the locks to prevent access (but you must replace the original lock before the end of the tenancy, as this is the landlord's property).

    For the sake of general harmony, it would be better not to refuse access completely, but you can dictate the terms - for example, allow an inspection every six months at a time convenient to you, and when you are present at the property. And obviously, if the landlord needs to repair the heating system or do a boiler safety check, it is in your interests to allow access for this.

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    • #3
      Thank you very much for this information. I'll surly not "fight" for no reason and not for this first time (I understand that they just want to report ot their customer (landlord) that everything is "alright" after 18months), but I want to know my right and were I can deny agreeing "sheepishly" to all that is said.

      But for this: Can you (or anybody) point me to the proper legal documents/information I could produce if it comes to an argument?

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      • #4
        The landlord has an implied right of entry, not a legal right except as stated above, but if you don't allow the landlord or agent access every 3 months or so he might not be aware of any repairs or damage, and if he is denied entry then you could be liable for the cost of such repairs. Is it reasonable to allow the landlord or agent periodic access? Yes, of course it is.
        The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

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        • #5
          Moreover, it permits the landlord's entry in your contract.

          If you do not grant him entry, then he can apply for a court order to obtain entry. Is it wholly unreasonable for him to want to check on the state of his valuable asset? If the court allows him entry then you will be liable for his court costs.

          Who knows what the courts will say. If we knew the answers there would be no need for courts...

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          • #6
            Legally you could just refuse but all that will happen is you will more then likely be given notice and your contract not renewed.

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            • #7
              Unless the property is an HMO, three-monthly inspections seem a little unnecessary. Every six months is surely more reasonable.
              'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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              • #8
                Most agents will contract with L to inspect every 3 months.
                The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
                  Most agents will contract with L to inspect every 3 months.
                  I suppose they have to do something to try to justify their often inflated charges

                  Actually, I couldn't give a tinker's cuss what 'most' agents and LLs contract to do. If I were a tenant living in a non HMO property, I would see three-monthly inspections as an unwarranted invasion of my quiet enjoyment.

                  And if I were a good tenant who paid my rent on time and did not offend the neighbours, my LL would be bonkers, in the current economic climate, to evict me simply because I did not want him poking round my home every 3 months.
                  'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by IBUIK View Post
                    But for this: Can you (or anybody) point me to the proper legal documents/information I could produce if it comes to an argument?
                    The statutory provision is in:
                    Section 11 (6) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985:
                    "In a lease in which the lessor’s repairing covenant is implied there is also implied a covenant by the lessee that the lessor, or any person authorised by him in writing, may at reasonable times of the day and on giving 24 hours’ notice in writing to the occupier, enter the premises comprised in the lease for the purpose of viewing their condition and state of repair."

                    This implies that whilst notice may be given that L may enter property (for purposes of viewing property condition), that right would still need to be exercised 'reasonably'. i.e. If a tenant refuses access, there is little that a L could do to gain it (apart from a court order).

                    OP, work with your L/agent to provide access at a mutually convenient time. Every 6 months seems reasonable.


                    Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
                    Most agents will contract with L to inspect every 3 months.
                    What L/Agent contract states regarding inspections can be entirely different to what actually happens in reality.

                    Most L's want 'good' tenant's to remain in the property for as long as possible, and wouldn't do anything to infringe on their private life within their home. Any 'good' agent should realise this - its quite obvious the OP's agent doesn't.
                    The information in my posts is provided 'as is'. This is not intended to be legal advice. Legal or other professional advice should be sought before acting or relying on this information or any part of it. I will not be held responsible for loss or damage arising from errors in the information or the way in which a person uses the information on this . For more information on your query use the '' link at the top of this page. Agreements, Forms & Notices can be found .

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                    • #11
                      As a side question, what happens in an HMO where there are communal hallways, living room and kitchen/bathrooms; can the landlord access these areas when he pleases (e.g. to clean them!)? I guess if a room within the HMO is unrented the landlord could also stay there? (although i'm not sure why he would want to)

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by GJMSurrey View Post
                        As a side question, what happens in an HMO where there are communal hallways, living room and kitchen/bathrooms; can the landlord access these areas when he pleases (e.g. to clean them!)?
                        Yes, because these are not let to T.
                        JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                        1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                        2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                        3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                        4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

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                        • #13
                          Thank you all for your information.
                          Just a short question, what is a HMO ?

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                          • #14
                            House in Multiple Occupancy
                            communities.gov.uk defines it as "an entire house or flat which is let to three or more tenants who form two or more households and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet"
                            So a family is not a HMO (related by blood or marriage), but a married couple (one household) and an unrelated friend (second household) would be.

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