Entry into property - can landlord/agent enter if tenant forbids us?

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    Entry into property - can landlord/agent enter if tenant forbids us?

    Hello,

    I am Swedish so not overly familiar with English law. I have just become a Director of a small regional English residential letting agency.

    I am concerned that this letting agency has been sending out letters to tenants stating "We need to do a 6-monthly inspection on your home on behalf of the landlord. We would like to attend on [date]. If we do not hear from you, we will assume that you are in agreement and we will let ourselves in with the management key".

    A concerned tenant, who lives with his dog, has written to me, stating that this letter is unlawful. The tenant claims that his dog would become upset if a stranger entered his home when he was not there, and that he has always strictly forbade the letting agency to enter the premises without his presence. He has now gone on to forbid the letting agency whatsoever.

    Please could someone with a good knowledge of English law answer the following:

    1. As it is the tenant's home and the tenant has possession, surely it is within the tenant's rights not to allow the letting agency in at all if he so wishes?

    2. Whilst the letting agency can seek the tenant's permission to enter for an inspection, surely the tenant can always withhold it indefinitely?

    3. Is it correct that the only way the letting agency could enter the premises if the tenant continued to deny them access would be through obtaining a Possession Order via the Court?

    4. Is it an offence to enter the premises without the tenant's written consent?

    thank you for all your help!

    Aron

    #2
    here we go again - just search this site for what you need and you will find a ton of info much of it given by experts.
    The generally agreed position is that it is NOT acceptable for anyone to enter a tenanted property without permission. The tenant can withhold permission. You could go to court to force entry but Possession would be a better option usually.
    Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

    Comment


      #3
      Landlord can enter - with a court order. You a) May not get one for and b) should have to wait months to get one..

      Suggest you get educated on Landlord/Tenant law, and send all your staff on courses... That you are asking the question would worry me were I a director...

      It can be an offence to enter without permission & you could end up in prison if you did (unlikely, but are you a gambling person??)
      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


        #4
        With respect, how can you become "Director" of a letting agency, without even knowing UK lettings law. Oh sorry, I forgot, letting agents need no experience or qualifications. Blind leading the blind here me thinks.

        Sorry to be so blunt. Yes, these letters are unlawful. I am surprised this is the only complaint your company has received. No-one has automatic right of access to anyone's home - you can even refuse the police access unless they have a valid warrant! Get yourself and your staff educated and trained asap. Atleast we should be thankful you have stumbled across this site and asked, but this is just to tip of the iceberg where letting law is concerned. Relying on a free public forum to ask this type of question is a receipe for disaster - if you want this letting agent company to become a success, you need to do a lot more than ask us!

        Comment


          #5
          Oh, and welcome to Landlordzone
          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


            #6
            Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
            Landlord can enter - with a court order. You a) May not get one for and b) should have to wait months to get one..

            Suggest you get educated on Landlord/Tenant law, and send all your staff on courses... That you are asking the question would worry me were I a director...

            It can be an offence to enter without permission & you could end up in prison if you did (unlikely, but are you a gambling person??)
            What Court in GB is going to grant a injunction to a LL,just because the T wont let the LL in.

            Only option would be a possession order and only after the correct notices and so on have been served on the T.
            Fed up with nitpickers and rivet counters...

            Comment


              #7
              You can find the position analysed in detail here.

              Whether my conclusions are correct is open to debate. What can be said is that there is no right of entry unless it is reserved by the tenancy agreement, though note that certain rights are implied into an agreement by statute. Unauthorised entry is only a crime if it amounts to harassment or is calculated to induce the tenant to leave or give up some right.

              Whatever the law may be, it is always wise for a landlord/agent to satisfy himself that the tenant does not object to entry. You cannot rely on an "if we do not hear we shall assume" formula. Far better to say something like this:

              "We need to do a 6-monthly inspection on your home on behalf of the landlord. We would like to attend on [date] at [time]. Please contact us to let us know if this is convenient and, if it is not, to arrange an alternative date and time."

              Comment


                #8
                The only thing that I would add to Lawcruncher's excellent summary is

                1: Refer to the tenancy clause allowing access, and state the purpose clearly.

                2: If you intend to use landlords keys, say so.

                3: Be sure that the notice you send is going to be received in good time and don't rely on one single method where more are available. Unless its an emergency most inspections/ gas checks etc can be planned & notified well in advance.

                And a good investment in any home is a simple safe to put their mind at rest over valuables going missing.
                Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                  You can find the position analysed in detail here.
                  If Lawcruncher agrees* can the Mod attach a sticky to this?

                  *Best after the Siesta perhaps
                  Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    He agrees.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      OK, I’m not a fan of lots of sticky threads, but then we don’t have lots.

                      As a discussion that comes up quite regularly it seems appropriate to make a sticky, but will making it a sticky cause readers to view it as a definitive answer?
                      I also post as Mars_Mug when not moderating

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Moderator2 View Post
                        ...will making it a sticky cause readers to view it as a definitive answer?
                        A good point.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Should you wish I can edit post #1 for you.
                          I also post as Mars_Mug when not moderating

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thank you.

                            Please insert at the beginning:

                            What follows is my analysis of the position. It should not be treated as gospel.

                            While you are at it could you please make the correction as shown in post 5 and then delete that post?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                              Thank you.

                              Please insert at the beginning:

                              What follows is my analysis of the position. It should not be treated as gospel.



                              While you are at it could you please make the correction as shown in post 5 and then delete that post?
                              May I suggest rather than position, use it is an analysis of the broad principles which could to be applied to the particular circumstances of each instance, on which paid advice should be taken.

                              With the link to the advice from Shelter?
                              Based on the information posted, I offer my thoughts.Any action you then take is your liability. While commending individual effort, there is no substitute for a thorough review of documents and facts by paid for professional advisers.

                              Comment

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