Landlords and letting agents entering property withouth notice

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  • Landlords and letting agents entering property withouth notice

    Hi,

    I wanted to find out the legality of this. I am in a property where on 3 seperate occasions I have been home when someone representing the landlord has let themselves into the property I am renting without any warning.

    I have no problem with the landlord entering the property. My problem is that they walk in without so much as a phone call, when the contract states unequivocally that they need to provide 24hours notice.

    The most recent occasion was the letting agent who wandered in wanting to take photographs of the property. However on a previous occasion, the person representing the landlord became verbally abusive when I queried who they were and what they were doing in my flat.

    The problem I have is that I have been home 3 times when they have entered the property without notice, so god knows how many times they have been wandering around my flat without me even knowing about it.

    Do i have a legal leg to stand on? I don't want to make a fuss but I would like to call the letting agent now and let them know that is unacceptable. Am I within my rights to do this?

    Like I said, I have no problem with them entering the flat at all. I would never say no to a request to enter the property. It is simply the fact that they open the front door and wander in without a phonecall or even knocking.

  • #2
    L or L's agent is, by entering without consent, committing harassment (and breaching L's obligation to give T quiet enjoyment).
    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).

    Comment


    • #3
      You sound very reasonable over this.

      I would politely advise the Landlord that although you (all tenants) renting in this manner have a right to peaceful enjoyment (and can disallow access altogether if they wanted, despite what the contract says I think...), you are absolutley happy to grant access and be flexible, so long as he/agent calls you a day in advance so that you can confirm that it is convenient.

      To be clear, when/if/what circumstances access is granted is up to you.

      This is textbook stuff and the landlords sounds as though he is either lacking in knowledge of this rule or is assuming that you don't mind.

      You might want to put this politely in writing to cover yourself, and keep a list of times/dates/who accessed and what for.

      Regards

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by hydraglyh View Post
        Do i have a legal leg to stand on? I don't want to make a fuss but I would like to call the letting agent now and let them know that is unacceptable. Am I within my rights to do this?
        Yes, as Jeffrey says, it is a breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment - the essence of a tenancy is that the tenant is given exclusive possession.

        But it isn't necessarily harassment, if the landlord/agent's intention is not to cause you to give up possession.

        If the landlord/agent ignore a polite written request to desist from unannounced visits, you are within your rights to change the lock (may be cheaper/easier just to change the barrel) - however, you must keep the original lock and reinstate it before the end of the tenancy, as the original lock is the LL's property.

        It is advisable to communicate matters of this nature in writing, get proof of posting (a free certificate of posting is sufficient), and keep copies of the correspondence. This is good practice in general, because it means you have evidence in case of any future dispute.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by westminster View Post
          Yes, as Jeffrey says, it is a breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment - the essence of a tenancy is that the tenant is given exclusive possession.

          But it isn't necessarily harassment, if the landlord/agent's intention is not to cause you to give up possession.
          I agree that it is not harassment so much as incompetence and sloppy business practice on the part of the agent and LL. The issue of harassment has come up a few times recently and I think Lawcruncher explained that that although having someone walk in uninvited may feel like harassment, there must be a (demonstrable) intention to put pressure on/force someone out of the property. That does not seem to be the case here.
          '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

          Comment


          • #6
            I have argued elsewhere, at length and on more than one occasion that any assertion to the effect that a landlord may not in any circumstances (save in an emergency) enter property without the tenant's consent cannot be sustained in law. Whether I am right or not, if the agreement provides for a minimum period of notice we can say for certain that the tenant can insist on that period of notice being given. Further, whether or not notice is required and whether or not given, it cannot be right for a landlord or his representative to enter premises without checking whether or not anyone is in.

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