L's right of access for inspection or viewing?

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    If your tenant is not refusing and is paying rent and never been disruptive, after different means of trying to communicate, I will enter but not alone. Enter with your surveyor at a reasonable time in the morning. He most probably at work. Should he not be, you can equally act surprised and explain that you were not sure what was going on, afterall if the partner has moved out, what if something sinister is occurring or in fact has occurred .... I would most definitely but cautiously enter

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      My tenant stopped paying the rent and stopped communicating with me. I started the court and eviction process. During that time the gas registration certificate was due to expire so I contacted the tenant by text, email and WhatsApp and gave him a week's notice of the gas engineer's visit which was around midday on a weekday. I stated that we would enter with a key if nobody was at home. He did not respond to the messages. We went on the specified day and he was angry but took no further action. When I was discussing the court case with a solicitor she said 'Oh no, you were trespassing.' This could have jeopardised my court case. However if I had not renewed the gas certificate I would also have broken the law. It's the devil or the deep blue sea as far as I can see and where as the landlord has to stick to the letter of the law absolutely the tenant can ignore what is stated in the agreement regarding access and, more particularly, regarding paying the rent! OK they will have a court judgement against them but will have enjoyed around 6 months of rent free accommodation.

      Comment


        I think your solicitor was wrong.
        Unless the tenant specifically tried to prevent you entering, being angry isn't enough to make that trespassing.
        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

        Comment


          Whether you are trespassing depends on whether the terms of the tenancy permit you to enter for the purpose for which you enter. If they do not then you are trespassing. You cannot conjure up consent by giving notice to enter and assuming the tenant consents if he does not respond.

          In the case of entry to carry out a gas check there are two arguments, if the right is not expressly reserved. The first is that it is implied under the common law because the landlord is under an obligation to carry out the check - see Mint v Good. The second is to rely on section 11(6) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 which provides:

          "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."

          I think a gas check has to come within "viewing their condition and state of repair".

          Comment


            In my AST it says clearly:
            "
            1. The tenant agrees to let the landlord, or tradesperson authorized by the landlord, to enter the property to service essential amenities, even if after reasonable attempts the landlord has been unable to get the tenants' consent."
            I have written letters to them giving them 2 weeks notice to get in touch to arrange a suitable time for gas safety, 2 weeks have passed, then a reminder letter referring to first letter for gas safety inspection and to get in touch. If they still haven't replied can I send gas safety engineer in if my keys work. I can wait outside if need be.

            Comment


              "The tenant agrees to let the landlord, or tradesperson authorized by the landlord, to enter the property to service essential amenities, even if after reasonable attempts the landlord has been unable to get the tenants' consent."

              Rather amateurish drafting. The red undermines the blue. It makes it look as is the landlord has to ask for consent. With just the blue, consent is given and further consent is not needed. We can guess what was intended, but the wording fails to achieve it clearly.

              Even if the clause was clear, you have to ask two questions. The first is: "Do I have the right to enter even if the tenant tells me I cannot?" The answer to that is that you do. A more important and practical question is: "Is it wise to enter?" The answer to that is: "Probably not."

              Comment


                Lawcruncher,

                That was the agreement on LL Zone some years back. It's sold as plain english.

                I've visited the property over the weekend in the past for signing the current renewal. At the moment the tenancy is periodic and so I have gone s21 route. It's headached otherwise with a empty property.

                Comment


                  A question that so far I have not really seen answered. Consensus seems to be landlords have right to access if 24 hours notice is given to inspect and/or review repairs AND permission is given. It could be argued the AST when signed gives permission for this but it would be advised to get further permission. The question is what if you give 24 hrs or more notice, you get no response (so that means your permission has not been denied or given) if you go there and no one is home so they have broken the appointment can you go in using the master keys under the AST consent? Please note in this instance the tenant never replies to give or deny permission to any written communication or text messages and does not have email, but previously has been there for the appointment and let me in. But also on another occasion has been going at the time of the appointment and refused to stay to speak to me, or give me another convenient time.

                  Comment


                    It depends on what your tenancy agreement says.

                    Landlords have a general right in legislation to inspect the condition of the property having given 24 hours notice (but not for any other reason). So if the correct notice is given, no further consent is required (although, as noted, it would be a good idea).

                    If the tenant declines the request for access, you have two conflicting sets of rights, the landlords right of access and the tenant's right to exclude anyone they want from the property. Neither right has a greater priority, so a court's decision is needed to overcome one right or the other.

                    If your tenancy agreements give other access, that's up to the strength of the contract and the validity/fairness of the terms. Although, unless the tenant refused, any remedy the tenant sought would be post event and have to be based on the loss incurred by the tenant.

                    The issue would be the exact wording of the terms allowing access.
                    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                    Comment


                      The starting point is that a landlord is only entitled to access for any purpose if (a) the tenant gives his consent or (b) the terms of the tenancy allow access for that purpose. As to (a) you have no problem if the tenant consents. As to (b) "the terms of the tenancy" are not quite the same as "the terms set out in the tenancy agreement" as terms may be implied, whether by statute or the common law.

                      A term allowing access must be reasonable and not such that its exercise would be a breach of the landlord's covenant for quiet enjoyment or a derogation from grant. In this respect a tenant's right to excusive possession is not absolute. Accordingly, that right does not come into conflict with any right of the landlord to access. The way to look at it is that what the landlord grants is a right of exclusive possession subject to reasonable rights of access.

                      The right must not only be reasonable but also reasonably exercised. So, while section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 implies "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" it is implicit that the right must be exercised reasonably, even though on the face of it the right could be exercised daily.

                      If the terms allow access for a specific purpose then no consent needs to be sought from the tenant to access for that purpose. All that is required is to comply with any conditions attached to the right. It is though important to realise that it is one thing to have a right and another to exercise it if doing so risks injury to persons, damage to property or a breach of the peace.

                      Comment

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