Can I change locks?

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    Can I change locks?

    Hi,

    Myself and my husband are new to this letting game but are already having problems. We have a 2 bed terraced house that we let to somebody last November (09) and he has only paid rent twice - we have had no rent since Feb 10. Whenever we go round he is not there and he never answers his phone. The neighbours seem to think he is no longer living there. The back kitchen window is smashed and has been boarded up. We have keys but the handle on the front door is broken - its double glazed door and handle swings all the way round. There is a key on the inside so we cannot get in. We have not tried to get in through the back yet as I was unsure whether we are allowed to enter without tenant's permission. Reading up on it, it seems we can as long as we give 24 hours written notice - is this correct?

    I also want to change the locks to make it secure again - are we allowed to do this. I was going to put in writing our intention to do this and ask him to get in touch in order that he can have a set of new keys. If he doesn't get in touch because he isn't living there anymore - can we just have our house bacK?

    I have downloaded a template for serving a section 8 notice, so am going to do this. But if he is not living there anymore, he obviously won't receive it, so how will he know we are serving him notice?

    ANy advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    #2
    Originally posted by liz23 View Post
    Hi,

    Myself and my husband are new to this letting game but are already having problems. We have a 2 bed terraced house that we let to somebody last November (09) and he has only paid rent twice - we have had no rent since Feb 10. Whenever we go round he is not there and he never answers his phone. The neighbours seem to think he is no longer living there. The back kitchen window is smashed and has been boarded up. We have keys but the handle on the front door is broken - its double glazed door and handle swings all the way round. There is a key on the inside so we cannot get in. We have not tried to get in through the back yet as I was unsure whether we are allowed to enter without tenant's permission. Reading up on it, it seems we can as long as we give 24 hours written notice - is this correct?

    I also want to change the locks to make it secure again - are we allowed to do this. I was going to put in writing our intention to do this and ask him to get in touch in order that he can have a set of new keys. If he doesn't get in touch because he isn't living there anymore - can we just have our house bacK?

    I have downloaded a template for serving a section 8 notice, so am going to do this. But if he is not living there anymore, he obviously won't receive it, so how will he know we are serving him notice?

    ANy advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    No, you have to have the Tenant's expressed permission to enter the property, even if you give 24 hours notice.

    Comment


      #3
      What if he is not even there to give permission?

      And also, if it is to inspect and/or to complete repairs - the government site says this - There is an implied term in tenancy agreements under
      the Rent Act 1977 and the Housing Act 1988 that the
      tenant will let the landlord have access to the property,
      and all reasonable facilities, to carry out repairs which he
      or she is entitled to do.
      In the case of tenancies where the landlord is responsible
      for repairs as described on page 3, he or she or an agent
      authorised by him or her in writing may, at reasonable
      times of the day, enter the property to inspect its
      condition and state of repair. He or she must give the
      tenant 24 hours notice in writing before he or she carries
      out such an inspection.


      So is there no way we can enter the property? even if we are concerned about it?

      Thanks

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by liz23 View Post
        What if he is not even there to give permission?
        You have an emergency situation where anyone with a screwdriver can get into the property where boarded up, and you have to replace the window.

        You can give 24 hours notice.

        You also have an emergency situation where your tenant may have died ( assuming there are no lights on at night, or the lights are on constantly ! ) as there is a key on the inside of the door, and no answer when you knock / ring the door bell.

        Inform the police that you are in fear for the occupant, and you will be entering your property to ascertain that there are no dead persons in there.

        that should cover you, if all else ( legally ) should fail.

        Let us know on Thursday that you have been in and there are no bodies in there.

        Comment


          #5
          Hmmm...almost sure he is not dead - know on the grapevine he is still around but just avoiding us big time. No contact details though to be able to get in touch with him, other than those we have and no joy.

          We will give 24 hours notice then tomorrow and go in to assess damage of kitchen window and arrange for repair on that basis. Will take photos for proof. Is it worth informing the police that we intend on doing this or will they not be bothered?

          Thanks for all the advice so far

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by liz23 View Post
            We will give 24 hours notice then tomorrow.
            Is it worth informing the police that we intend on doing this or will they not be bothered?
            As you are not permitted to enter the property without due cause ( emergency ) I would suggest that you inform the police, who, if they also see that there is a key in the front door, on the inside, would suggest that someone is inside, and may be in trouble.

            THEY can break the door down and gain entry legally, and could even pay for the repair ( if you watch "Cops with cameras" / interceptors etc.)

            It's just a suggestion so you can gain entry legally to ascertain if someone is still living there. Just say you are the landlord, and are worried about your tenant, as the rent was not paid last month, key in the inside lock, and no answer to knocks on the door during the last 2 days.

            Don't complicate the matter by telling the truth in it's full glory, just keep it simple, and that you are concerned for the health of your tenant.

            Should work.

            Assume the window is boarded up from the outside ?

            Comment


              #7
              Where is the law that states that a landlord needs the express permission to enter a property?
              Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

              Comment


                #8
                anyone else get a feeling of deja-vu??!!
                Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by thesaint View Post
                  Where is the law that states that a landlord needs the express permission to enter a property?
                  I agree, I have often pondered this point.

                  Under the Housing Act there are provisions relating to harassment in gaining entry, and you may be breaching the T's contractual right to quiet enjoyment (although unlikely if there is in the TA also a covenant allowing you access).

                  Otehr than that, I am unsure where this oft quoted "rule" comes from in law.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    'Quiet Enjoyment' is usually the rule that governs this area. I believe (but I could be wrong) it's common law, rather than statute, but it still stands above any contract term that allows entry. It affectively makes any such term standing permission, meaning it can be withdrawn by the tenant at any time.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Well, no one is suggesting quiet enjoyment is a statutory right (other than the anti-harrassment provisions as previously posted), only a contractual one in the tenancy agreement.

                      However, if there is case law (i.e. common law) supporting the position that LLs make themselves liable by adhering to their contractual rights to entry of the property in accordance with the TA, I would like to know where this comes from in terms of case citations.

                      I would say though that it seems unlikely this is common law regulated (as common law often follows the contractual agreement), and it is more likely there is a statute somewhere which regulates the position.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by roryl View Post
                        'Quiet Enjoyment' is usually the rule that governs this area. I believe (but I could be wrong) it's common law, rather than statute, but it still stands above any contract term that allows entry. It affectively makes any such term standing permission, meaning it can be withdrawn by the tenant at any time.
                        I understand, and agree with the idea that it can be withdrawn at anytime, but I keep seeing it bandied about like it is either in "normal" law or housing law, when I am reasonably sure that it isn't.

                        Members don't even say that it(consent) can be withdrawn, their position is "Landlord need express permission" which is the opposite.
                        Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by liz23 View Post
                          Hi,

                          Myself and my husband are new to this letting game but are already having problems. We have a 2 bed terraced house that we let to somebody last November (09) and he has only paid rent twice - we have had no rent since Feb 10. Whenever we go round he is not there and he never answers his phone. The neighbours seem to think he is no longer living there. The back kitchen window is smashed and has been boarded up. We have keys but the handle on the front door is broken - its double glazed door and handle swings all the way round. There is a key on the inside so we cannot get in. We have not tried to get in through the back yet as I was unsure whether we are allowed to enter without tenant's permission. Reading up on it, it seems we can as long as we give 24 hours written notice - is this correct?

                          I also want to change the locks to make it secure again - are we allowed to do this. I was going to put in writing our intention to do this and ask him to get in touch in order that he can have a set of new keys. If he doesn't get in touch because he isn't living there anymore - can we just have our house bacK?

                          I have downloaded a template for serving a section 8 notice, so am going to do this. But if he is not living there anymore, he obviously won't receive it, so how will he know we are serving him notice?

                          ANy advice would be greatly appreciated.

                          Thanks,
                          If you have reasonable evidence the premises have been abandoned you could affix an abandonment notice to all entrance doors giving 7 days notice of intention to enter. You must put on the Notice the tenant's name & address, your own name and address and a telephone number where you can be contacted. Look on the iternet for suggested wording - there are plenty of examples. Beware about changing the locks though as it might compromise your situation.
                          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.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by thesaint View Post
                            I understand, and agree with the idea that it can be withdrawn at anytime, but I keep seeing it bandied about like it is either in "normal" law or housing law, when I am reasonably sure that it isn't.

                            Members don't even say that it(consent) can be withdrawn, their position is "Landlord need express permission" which is the opposite.
                            The only time (usually) access becomes an issue is when the Landlord wants it making it an opportunity for a Tenant to withdraw consent (unless they do it pre-emptively). The danger of this happening effectively removes the presumed consent element of the rules.

                            In theory, a Tenant could sign a tenancy agreement (which no doubt contains an access term) then instantly hand the Landlord a letter withdrawing any permission for access.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by roryl View Post
                              The only time (usually) access becomes an issue is when the Landlord wants it making it an opportunity for a Tenant to withdraw consent (unless they do it pre-emptively). The danger of this happening effectively removes the presumed consent element of the rules.

                              In theory, a Tenant could sign a tenancy agreement (which no doubt contains an access term) then instantly hand the Landlord a letter withdrawing any permission for access.
                              Well, the way to get around that is to make the consent given in the agreement irrevocable.

                              Comment

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