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  • keys

    hello all

    have an issue that have been asked to advise on.

    Its a common one and one that always seems to cause problems.

    Assured tenant will not provide copy of keys. Landlords have demanded copy for emergencies, requirememt of insurance and condition of tenancy agreement. I do not belive it is in the tenancy agreement (will check) - but they have threatened to change locks if not complied with.

    Any thoughts on this? - I agree it is normal for L to have copy of keys for security and emergency problems and would normally expect this - however there seems to be nothing in legislation that enforces this, and in fact tenants are in their right to change locks if they are experiencing harassment. To force change of locks would be a criminal offence in my opinion (even if they promise to provide new copy) it is possible harassment and definte breach of quiet enjoyment.

    How would a L proceed to gain a copy of keys if they feel they have a right to - would it be a Court injunction?

    Thanks for advice

  • #2
    Originally posted by creswell View Post
    To force change of locks would be a criminal offence in my opinion (even if they promise to provide new copy) it is possible harassment and definte breach of quiet enjoyment.

    How would a L proceed to gain a copy of keys if they feel they have a right to - would it be a Court injunction?
    I agree it would be unlawful for LL to change the locks without T's consent. If the tenancy agreement contains a provision entitling LL to hold a set of keys, LL should apply to the court to enforce this provision (no idea whether this would be an injunction or other type of claim).

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Westminster.

      Comment


      • #4
        what about emergencies though (fire,flood, gas) - this is the standard response LL's give - and it makes sense, how does one reply to assertions that LL's require keys for emergencies?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by creswell View Post
          what about emergencies though (fire,flood, gas) - this is the standard response LL's give - and it makes sense, how does one reply to assertions that LL's require keys for emergencies?
          If the tenants failure to provide a key meant that entry had to be gained by force, and there was a cost associated with that (damaged door?) then the tenant would be liable for that cost.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by baba_zi
            So landlords are legally can't have copies?
            Not quite so straightforward. My understanding is that landlords can not have unfettered access to the property (except in case of emergencies). Therefore why would they need keys?

            Comment


            • #7
              In another jurisdiction it is recommended that a "Key Agreement" is signed by both LL & T before tenancy granted to cover issues related to keys, including LL having a key.

              Can't see why it wouldn't make sense to do the same in E&W...

              Cheers!

              Artful
              I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by creswell View Post
                what about emergencies though (fire,flood, gas) - this is the standard response LL's give - and it makes sense, how does one reply to assertions that LL's require keys for emergencies?
                That while it makes sense, this doesn't, in itself, entitle LL to hold keys. Whilst there is an implied right for LL to enter to inspect under s.11 LTA1985 I am not aware of any statutory entitlement for LL to hold keys.

                If there is a contractual agreement for LL to hold a set of keys, and T refuses to comply, then in practical terms it could only be enforced by a court as it would be nigh impossible for LL to change the locks without harassing the T.

                You may also find it helpful to read lawcruncher's thread on the subject of LL's rights of access. Here's a taster:

                There is no rule of law that says that a landlord may not exercise any right of entry he reserves. A tenant must of course not be harassed. Apart from that he has a right to quiet enjoyment, but that right needs to be read as if it were qualified by any right reserved that allows the landlord to enter, so long as he behaves reasonably. It is not easy to say what is reasonable. Since the exercise of the right is not dependent upon a court saying it can be exercised there must be circumstances, apart from a case of genuine emergency, where it is not unreasonable for a landlord to enter without consent and even where consent is refused, but it is a brave landlord who thinks he knows what the circumstances are.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                  My understanding is that landlords can not have unfettered access to the property. Therefore why would they need keys?
                  I know this question is not in the HMO section, but it would handy to point it out for interest/comparison.
                  If the property is a HMO, a LL does have unlimited access to the common parts since they are deemed to be the property manager (unless otherwise arranged and specified) and would therefore need keys for access to such parts.

                  In addition, for non-HMO properties if a LL does not have a set of keys, the tenant is then burdened by having to be home to provide access for those things that the LL is obliged to do or needs to do or respond to, as has been stated already.
                  Most tenants would not be able to do this and I would think that the OPs question applies to a small percentage of people/tenancies.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DrunkenJedi View Post
                    I know this question is not in the HMO section, but it would handy to point it out for interest/comparison.
                    If the property is a HMO, a LL does have unlimited access to the common parts since they are deemed to be the property manager (unless otherwise arranged and specified) and would therefore need keys for access to such parts.
                    Agree totally, but only if it is let on individual ASTs - and the LL/PM may not access the individually let rooms.

                    In addition, for non-HMO properties if a LL does not have a set of keys, the tenant is then burdened by having to be home to provide access for those things that the LL is obliged to do or needs to do or respond to, as has been stated already.
                    Most tenants would not be able to do this and I would think that the OPs question applies to a small percentage of people/tenancies.
                    Surely that is a matter of choice for the tenant - they may prefer a neighbour to supervise such visits. A landlord entering a property without the tenants presence is just asking for (false?) claims of missing iPods. Worth noting that most tenants would forget to tell their contents insurers that the landlord has a key, and that material fact could easily invalidate the policy. If I rented, I'd make sure I was the only person with keys.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                      Agree totally, but only if it is let on individual ASTs - and the LL/PM may not access the individually let rooms.
                      A HMO can still exist if the people on the AST are not related or are not the tenant's staff, as far as I can tell.

                      My post was about the common parts only.


                      Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                      Surely that is a matter of choice the tenant - they may prefer a neighbour to supervise such visits.
                      The LL's statutory obligations are not limited to only him/her accessing the property.
                      It covers anyone acting on his or her behalf too.

                      Yes, the tenant can choose that the LL or his agents/workmen do not have any access for any purpose, but they must clearly understand the consequences of preventing such access, which few such tenants really do, in my experience.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DrunkenJedi View Post
                        A HMO can still exist if the people on the AST are not related or are not the tenant's staff, as far as I can tell.
                        My post was about the common parts only.
                        Again, I agree, but a HMO let on a joint tenancy has NO common parts and therefore the landlord has no right of free access.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                          Again, I agree, but a HMO let on a joint tenancy has NO common parts and therefore the landlord has no right of free access.
                          We both agree, but our points are being cross-purposed.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DrunkenJedi View Post
                            The LL's statutory obligations are not limited to only him/her accessing the property.
                            It covers anyone acting on his or her behalf too.
                            I think you must be referring to the LL's statutory implied rights of access?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DrunkenJedi View Post
                              In addition, for non-HMO properties if a LL does not have a set of keys, the tenant is then burdened by having to be home to provide access for those things that the LL is obliged to do or needs to do or respond to, as has been stated already.
                              Most tenants would not be able to do this and I would think that the OPs question applies to a small percentage of people/tenancies.
                              It is hardly a burden. Or, if it is, it's a burden that all home owners have to cope with. I agree with Snorkerz that it is the T's choice as to how access for repairs is arranged.

                              Comment

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