LL access, quiet enjoyment and sets of keys

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    LL access, quiet enjoyment and sets of keys

    I have just received a telephone call from my LL's managing agents, requesting that I provide my LL with a set of keys, without which "he will serve you notice".

    I have never denied access to the agents' when requested, even though they subject me to tedious inspections every 3 months, nor have I ever met my LL in person.

    I explained to the agents that I do not feel they need a copy of the keys since 2 spares are left with people whom I trust. This means that between them + I, we assure that they can always have access if they require it, but she's waffling on about the LL's (god-given?) right to have a key for the sake of it because it's his property (I have explained more than once to the agents, that the lock will be changed back to the original when I eventually move out).

    I know this does not make any real difference to my rights, but just to make a point, I am a professional, almost 40, single, and I pay almost £1k a month in rent - so I really don't understand what they're on about :-( - and I am not in arrears of rent, nor have they found anything untoward, during the last inspection.

    What are your opinions on this, please?

    #2
    My Opionion in this is that the LL should have a set of keys, nothing to do with his rights, but more to do with having access in case of emergency. You must remember that ultimately the LL is responsible for the flat and not the agent. If there were a problem and the LL could not get in and the agent were not available, he could be liable for the outcome.

    Comment


      #3
      well, it's not a secure flat, there's no alarm, and a large glass pane on the front door that can be easily smashed (as the people who burgled me last year know well).

      I thought if there was an emergency and the LL had to smash the glass to get in, I would be liable to pay for the glass, although why anyone would call him in case of an emergency, is beyond me (as I said, nobody even knows him, plus he's a steward with an airline, so he's hardly ever around).

      Is my assumption, above, completely wrong?

      Comment


        #4
        Others here will give the legal standing, but i dont think he is out of order wanting keys. You do have rights to quite enjoyment of the place and if he doesnt play ball in that area he is on the wrong side of the law. However, from wht you have said you have never suffered unfair intrusions. I have a number of places and have keys to all of them, I wouldnt expect to have to smash glass to get in, and Ive never had to enter the places without given the obligatory notice and obtaining permission from the tenant. Remember he is running a business and probably just being business like, he may even be thinking of changing agents and worried that he will be left without any keys..... who knows, why dont you give him a ring and have a friendly chat about it.

        Good luck

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by dazalock
          However, from wht you have said you have never suffered unfair intrusions.
          Well I have to say that the 3-monthly inspections are a pain in the neck, especially after the first year... but that's the agents being a pain, and me being a bit soft with them, to be honest.

          Originally posted by dazalock
          he may even be thinking of changing agents and worried that he will be left without any keys..... who knows, why dont you give him a ring and have a friendly chat about it.
          I am not kidding when I say that I don't even know the guy's address, let alone his phone number. To be honest, I think it's just what the agents have told him, if indeed he is involved at all in this and it's not them just making it up. Alternatively, he may want to move back in, but in that case why doesn't he just give me the proper notice and get on with it?

          I have tried to look and see what the law says, but as far as I can see there's nothing specifying I cannot change the locks, so I assume that by default I must be able to.

          To be honest, since I have already had burglars, etc., I should much rather NOT give a spare set of keys to anyone I do not personally know and trust, especially since I am often away on business. However, if the law requires me to provide them, of course I shall do so, and without a fuss. The agents seem to think that whatever is in the tenancy agreement overrides any existing law (for example, with regards to access to the property). I guess they're more used to dealing with "unruly students", pfft.

          Comment


            #6
            3 monthly inspections are the norm I think; although it's annoying for tenants (especially the ones who are looking after their homes), it is usual for agents to check the properties to make sure the tenants are acting in a tenant-like manner (not wrecking the place).
            They're not being unreasonable there.

            Regarding the keys I think it is the norm too for LLs to have keys (or at least the agents hold the keys for them). I don't know if that's the law but it is usually for emergencies such as gas leaks, floods, fires etc.
            If not the LL, agents would in such case do whatever's in their power to limit damage to the house and your belongings.

            Comment


              #7
              I don't think you can have any justifiable complaint regarding the inspections; the agent is just doing what he is paid to do by his client ie to ensure that his tenant is looking after the property

              Did you ask for permission to change the locks? no? from a landlord and agent perspective that usually heralds a problem tenant; I don't think it unreasonable at all for a landlord or his agent to hold keys for his property.

              If you distrust the agent that much (reading between the lines) why did you use them in the first place? the fact that they are carrying out their 3 monthly inspections (lots of agents don't) would make me think they are taking a responsible approach to their duties
              My advice is not based on formal legal training but experience gained in 20+ years in the letting industry.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by oaktree
                I don't think you can have any justifiable complaint regarding the inspections; the agent is just doing what he is paid to do by his client ie to ensure that his tenant is looking after the property
                I am just saying, that they are a pain in the neck. I am entitled by law to have quiet enjoyment of my flat, which could include them limiting their inspections to something less than every 3 months, after 2 years in residence.

                Originally posted by oaktree
                Did you ask for permission to change the locks? no? from a landlord and agent perspective that usually heralds a problem tenant; I don't think it unreasonable at all for a landlord or his agent to hold keys for his property.
                I informed the agents BEFORE I moved in, two years ago, that I should be changing the locks. They asked why, and I told them that I do not wish to have my house keys around the place, and that I do not know who might have copies of the lock that was on the door.
                Their response at the time was simply "ah well if we write to you, you have to let us in with 24 hours' notice". While this is untrue, legally speaking, I have never refused them access, no matter what the notice.

                Originally posted by oaktree
                If you distrust the agent that much (reading between the lines) why did you use them in the first place?
                As I mentioned, I have been in this place for over 2 years, and the only thing that I find mildly annoying is the inspections. This feeling of annoyance is also due to the fact that, initially, I had a 6 months contract, as "normal", and they told me that the inspection was what they normally did half way through the rental. When I had a yearly contract, they switched to "it's normal every 3 months" - which is not exactly the same as "3 months happen to be half way through your rental".

                Having said that, I asked explanations about this only the once, in the beginning, and have not batted an eyelid ever since. Until today's phone call, that is.

                You do not think it unreasonable that they should have the keys, I do - and all I am wondering is why they should, considering that they are not entitled to visit the flat without my permission (in this case, this implies with the presence of myself, or a person whom I have entrusted with the keys).

                I have a contents and third-party liability + accidents insurance, covering also electricals, etc., so why should they need to get in the place without me (or my proxy) being there?

                I might be stubborn, but unless there is a legal requirement to do so, I have no wish to give anyone I do not know my keys, and I cannot find this information anywhere

                Comment


                  #9
                  About 9 months ago I received a telephone call from the tenant in the maisonnette below mine - water was dripping from the ceiling. I called my tenant - no reply - I visited the property and there was no reply at the front door. Armed with the tenant from the underneath property as a witness, I entered my maisonnette which was unnoccupied with my landlord's key, found the problem and replaced the faulty washer in the ball cock concerned. I had almost finished when my tenant (who had been kipping on a friend's sofa after a night on the tiles) returned. All was well after the appropriate explanations. If I hadn't got my key, I would have been in receipt of bills from the owner of the underneath maisonnette for serious ceiling repairs and possibly compensation to his tenant for inconvenience.

                  Landlords should always hold keys to their properties in case of emergencies like this.

                  P.P.
                  Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I appreciate what you are saying, but nobody would ever know my landlord's contact details, and the agents are traceable only during office hours - despite of having a number for emergencies.

                    As it happens, during the coldest week of the year - about 8 weeks ago, was it? - I got home on a Friday afternoon to find that my heating and hot water were not working.

                    I called the emergency number and left a message on some answerphone, and finally spoke to the agents at about 10 am on Monday. By that time there was ice on the inside of the windows, which lasted until the Friday night ("yes the workman is coming tomorrow morning/afternoon / the part was delayed from the stockroom but I'll be with you first thing in the morning/afternoon" for the whole week - which meant I couldn't go to work NOR to buy some heaters in case the workman DID come along in an hour's time!). On said Friday, after much getting angry from my side, finally the agents dropped a couple of fan heaters at mine (maybe the workman was coming Saturday morning - he didn't). They took 10 days to fix the heating, since an expensive part needed replacing, and the landlord was "away" (as I mentioned, he's a steward) and they needed him to come back before authorising the expense. I did not kick up too much of a fuss, nor did I actually have the heating repaired and then billed them for it, as I would have been entitled to. I just got a terrible cold.

                    This is another story of course, but the generic principle of the useful landlord does not apply in this case.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Adpucci

                      It is clear from your posts that unless someone quotes you an exact law you are not going to give your landlord the keys - general concensus seems to be that it is appropriate for the landlord to have a set but you just keep posting objections.

                      So don't bother.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        1. The landlord is entitled to a key so if he wants one then why didn't the agents retain a copy?; if you feel so inclined to let them have a copy then make sure they pay you for having to have some cut!
                        2. If you want know the name & address of the landlord you are entitled by law to obtain it from the agent by giving them a written request; within 21 days they must reply under S.1 Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 otherwise they are committing a criminal offence - don't let them fob you off - if they do it shows they don't know much about law. (I doubt if anyone else has ever asked them for this! Just watch their reaction if you're at their office when you deliver the letter!)
                        3. The agent will be contracted to make quarterly inspection on behalf of the landlord which is not unusual so you will have to accept it. This shouldn't be a difficult condition for a tenant to meet!
                        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


                          #13
                          Paul, in this situation I believe the agent had a key but the tenant changed the locks and didn't provide the agent or LL a new key and that's why the agent is asking for one.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Paul_f
                            • The landlord is entitled to a key so if he wants one then why didn't the agents retain a copy?; if you feel so inclined to let them have a copy then make sure they pay you for having to have some cut!
                            • Thank you Paul, this is what I wanted to know, that is, if the landlord is legally entitled to have a key.

                              Originally posted by Paul_f
                            • If you want know the name & address of the landlord you are entitled by law to obtain it from the agent by giving them a written request; within 21 days they must reply under S.1 Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 otherwise they are committing a criminal offence - don't let them fob you off - if they do it shows they don't know much about law. (I doubt if anyone else has ever asked them for this! Just watch their reaction if you're at their office when you deliver the letter!)
                            Once again, thank you, I shall do that indeed. I shan't be able to watch their reaction, but I shall be sending him the keys with a short explanatory note of my ignorance.

                            Originally posted by Paul_f
                          • The agent will be contracted to make quarterly inspection on behalf of the landlord which is not unusual so you will have to accept it. This shouldn't be a difficult condition for a tenant to meet!
                          No it isn't, really, it's just a bit annoying, but... well to be truthful it riles me a bit that they should think I'm going to wreck the place, but really, I know it's nothing personal.

                          Regarding the post by tootsie roll, yes you are quite right, I was looking for my "exact" standing at law, not for what is appropriate by general consensus, and I apologise if I ever gave the impression that it was otherwise.

                          Also, Jennifer, you are quite right, the agent had a set of keys, and I see no reason why they should, so I shall send my copy directly to the landlord.

                          Thanks very much for everyone's opinion, and help.

                          Comment


                            #15
                            Stone the crows! A satisfied customer!
                            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

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