Quiet enjoyment of unoccupied property

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    #16
    Originally posted by llzllt View Post
    Housing Act 1988/1996 - do not apply as it is not my primary / only residence.

    So if I move out, then it is a bare contract for rent? Since it is still an AST it seems like a strange result. Can there meaningfully be an AST without the 1988 Act applying?
    No. The Act decides if the Act applies [see Schedule 2A]; the parties' actions then decide if the letting is an AST or an SAT.
    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.
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      #17
      Originally posted by llzllt View Post
      The reason I ask is that I am accommodating L by offering a 2-hour window once a week for viewings. I am busy and am still responsible for the condition of the flat. I am not inclined to go much further out of my way, as the landlord has refused early surrender (which he is completely entitled to do). My concern is that since I am no longer resident, the "conventional wisdom" on viewings and access may not apply in this case.
      Does the tenancy agreement contain a provision allowing LL to conduct viewings during, say, the last month of the tenancy? If it does, then he is entitled to do so, and you should allow reasonable access - a 2 hour window once a week is adequate (albeit not over-generous). If you refused completely, the LL could in theory apply to the court to enforce the provision - obviously, this is highly unlikely to happen; the tenancy would have ended by the time he obtained an order.

      The covenant of quiet enjoyment applies to any tenancy.
      If the LL took advantage of your non-residence to conduct additional viewings without your knowledge (presumably what you are concerned about), and you discovered this, you could theoretically claim against LL for breach of quiet enjoyment. But, given that you have moved out permanently, my guess is that even if you won the claim, any award for damages would be negligible, or you might even be ordered to pay the LL's legal costs for bringing an unreasonable claim.

      If the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 does apply, I doubt a court would be persuaded that the LL's additional secret viewings amounted to unlawful harassment or eviction, as the LL must be acting with the intention of causing the T to give up occupation or from exercising his rights. He also has a defence under s.2, if "he proves that he believed, and had reasonable cause to believe, that the residential occupier had ceased to reside in the premises."

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        #18
        p.s.

        You may find this thread of interest, by one of our legally qualified members
        http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...ad.php?t=26719

        (N.B. The last part of the first paragraph should read: "I do not think it is in fact the law.")

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          #19
          Thank you Westminster.

          The contract does indeed include a clause to allow viewings during the notice period. I agree with your point about damages. Like so many things in letting it seems to come down to that I am still entitled to quiet enjoyment, but have no ability to enforce it.

          The viewing window is really a great practical compromise. I had previously thought the only options were to always be accomodating agents' requests, or to refuse completely. Although as you say it is not over-generous, it allows me to comply with my contract without doing too much babysitting of agents in the property.

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            #20
            Originally posted by llzllt View Post
            The viewing window is really a great practical compromise. I had previously thought the only options were to always be accomodating agents' requests, or to refuse completely. Although as you say it is not over-generous, it allows me to comply with my contract without doing too much babysitting of agents in the property.
            Believe me, real babies are far less trouble!
            '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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              #21
              Originally posted by llzllt View Post
              Like so many things in letting it seems to come down to that I am still entitled to quiet enjoyment, but have no ability to enforce it.
              Not entirely. If you wish, you would be within your rights to change the locks to prevent unauthorized access, so long as you reinstated the original lock before the end of the tenancy. I didn't suggest it as it seems pointless when you're not even living there.

              Also, as I said before, if you refused access entirely for viewings in the notice period, there's nothing the LL could do except follow a lengthy court procedure. So the tenant has far more control over the situation than the landlord.

              Comment


                #22
                Originally posted by westminster View Post
                you would be within your rights to change the locks to prevent unauthorized access, so long as you reinstated the original lock before the end of the tenancy. I didn't suggest it as it seems pointless when you're not even living there.
                Indeed! I am considering pointing out that I would be within my rights to change the locks (and reinstate them), but to actually do it when it's just a couple of empty rooms seems pointless, unless I expect a continuous open house in my absence.

                Thank you for the advice.

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