Landlord's (agents) right of access question (from a tenant's point of view)

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    Landlord's (agents) right of access question (from a tenant's point of view)

    Hi
    I'm a private tenant renting through a lettings agency. I've been there for 7 months and have never been happy there so have now found a new house and given the month's notice which worked out to be more like 6 weeks' because of the time of month I gave the notice not being at the end of the month or whatever that rule is.

    The agency have been terrible from the beginning. When I viewed, I asked whether they have any damp problems, I have to be very careful because I have bad asthma and that's a bad trigger for me. No, not in the slightest was the reply. Well that turned out to be totally wrong, as soon as winter kicked in so did the damp. My bedroom is damp and the whole upstairs smells musty. The attic stinks and the stuff in there is black. The bathroom is terrible, black damp spreads really fast down the walls almost as fast as though it happens in front of your eyes! The paint throughout the house is of such poor quality that wiping a mark off results in the paint coming off the wall, which meant that the bathroom was impossible to wipe down and the damp is so bad it stains into the wall. I notified the agency and their answer was "feel free to paint over it"!! By this point I knew I would be moving house but didnt know when and swallowed the cost of it just so I wouldnt have to walk into a black bathroom any more (£50 including anti mould paint and mould treatment wash). I am having to heat all the rooms on night storage heaters on full and plugged in electric convector and oil filled to try and keep the damp away, currently costing me £40-£50 a week!! (they told me that the flat is cheap to run!!)

    Before Christmas, I knew i would be away on the date I transfer the rent so I dropped a cheque in to the office. Turns out they lost the cheque and got funny with me for paying my rent late!!

    I was told that I can have sky fitted and it's no problem. Booked the engineer to be told no it cant be done because of health and safety... the agents also told my neighbour that there is a communal sky dish already there!! they would have known about this problem as they have managed the flats for nearly 8 years.

    The neighbouring flats are also managed by the landlord and one of them has taken to throwing out crab sticks, bananas and loaves of bread (yes, whole loaves complete in their wrapper!) for the birds onto the flat roof below, by the walkway which is encouraging seagulls and rats. This was surpassed by one of the other tenants then ditching a double matress outside on the communal walkway!! It was there for 3 weeks then they tipped it over onto the alleyway below us where the council removed it. The agents were made aware of the dumping problem but were not interested (both myself and my neighbour who is new there have complained).

    The parking area is a private one you need a pass for. It's monitored by a private company who issue parking penalties if you dont have a pass. There is nowhere else to park where I live except for council car parks. I stupidly left my permit in a hire car and have been asking for 3 weeks for a replacement - after being told I have to go direct to the company (who then tell me no the agents have to order a new one) I keep getting told they will try to get to it 'today'. A £60 parking fine later and still no sign of the pass....

    For the inspection, they just turned up without giving me notice. My teenage daughter was home at the time and was co-erced into letting them in. When I complained to them, they said that they had left a message on my phone the day before giving the 24 hours notice - they did not, besides I have always been told it's actually meant to be in writing!

    Anyway sorry for the rant, hard to stop when I start! The reason I am posting is to ask about my rights re giving them access to show people round. They phoned me today and said they had someone they wanted to show round this afternoon - no, I'm not home. They then said we have keys, we can let them in. I said no, I am not happy with letting anyone in without me being there. I'm due to go away for valentines with my partner who works away so I'm not back until Thursday and they are being funny with that as they want people to view the place. I understand the need to get it rented out ASAP but the way they have been, I do not trust them and I do not want people I don't know going into myhome when I am not there. They are also pushing to have access when it's convenient to them i.e. week days/day time. But that's not convenient for me, I work 40 miles away and am not going to put myself out for them and lose money/holiday time for them considering the way they have been with me. The way I feel is to say sorry no access til I move out and have finished doing what I need to do, am I in my right to do that? Or at the very least am I within my rights to say yes you can have access but when it's convenient to me i.e. evenings and weekends? I don't know the rules with this as it's the first time I have had cr*p landlord/agency, the others have been good relationships where I trusted them and helped as much as I could when I left the house.

    Thanks and sorry for the essay!

    x

    #2
    Even if your tenancy contract does not say so (most do) section 16 of the 1988 HOusing Act says that you must allow access so that the landlord (or his agent) can view the condition of the property. If you refuse, the landlord could get that right by a court order - and you would most likely have to foot the bill for the court costs.

    On the other hand, you have a conflicting right in common law to 'quiet enjoyment' - essentially you should be left alone to enjoy the property as if it was yours. The only problem with that being that you have agreed to allow such inspections in the tenancy agreement.

    So, go for compromise. The more you help, the quicker they will find a tenant and get off your back. Maybe tell them a couple of sessions a week that you will agree to, but always with 24 hours notice - say Wednesday Evenings and Saturday Afternoons. Funny isn't it - weekday viewings are difficult for you, probably difficult for prospective tenants, but that's fine for the agents, because like you and the viewer - that's the time they are working!

    Comment


      #3
      {Mod edit - forum rule No. 14 applied to save electrons}

      Hello cremeggsrock

      Sorry to hear of you problems

      It's your home,they cant just turn up when ever they like,even if they do turn up after giving you 24-48 hours written notice,you still have the right to refuse Entry..

      It's up to you...

      the landlord could get that right by a court order - and you would most likely have to foot the bill for the court costs.
      I wouldn't worry about a court order been taken against you if you refuse LL/LA entry to your home,there are NO known case of a successfully court order been granted !

      Worst a LL could do is give you a s21 at the end of your current tenancy agreement...
      Thunderbirds are go

      Comment


        #4
        Hi guys
        thanks for the quick replies, much appreciated.
        this access for inspection is the part that I get confused with... I am not refusing access for repairs or inspection, it's refusing potential tenants from viewing because it's not convenient... they are not there to repair or as a landlord to inspect the condition...! And reasonable access, what is that! reasonable in my life is that I don't lose wages or time off... never thought about it being difficult for the tenants as well as me, that's a good point!

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by cremeggsrock View Post
          this access for inspection is the part that I get confused with... I am not refusing access for repairs or inspection, it's refusing potential tenants from viewing because it's not convenient...
          A right to access for viewings would only be contractual. Look in the tenancy contract and see whether there is a clause about LL's right of access for viewings.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by cremeggsrock View Post
            Hi guys
            thanks for the quick replies, much appreciated.
            this access for inspection is the part that I get confused with... I am not refusing access for repairs or inspection, it's refusing potential tenants from viewing because it's not convenient... they are not there to repair or as a landlord to inspect the condition...! And reasonable access, what is that! reasonable in my life is that I don't lose wages or time off... never thought about it being difficult for the tenants as well as me, that's a good point!
            It's up to you,when it's convenient to you and not the LL/LA,no one can force you to show potential tenants around your home...
            Thunderbirds are go

            Comment


              #7
              I apologise - I gave you the wrong bit of law, it is section 11(6) of the 1985 Landlord and Tenant Act, which says:

              In a lease in which the lessor’s repairing covenant is implied (which would be any AST) there is also implied a covenant by the lessee that the lessor, or any person authorised by him in writing, may at reasonable times of the day and on giving 24 hours’ notice in writing to the occupier, enter the premises comprised in the lease for the purpose of viewing their condition and state of repair.

              So, you see from above that the law is so vaguely worded that it can cover the new tenant scenario, Viz

              a covenant by the lessee that the lessor, or any person authorised by him in writing (it doesn't say agent, tradesman or who this person may or may not be - so it could be a prospective tenant), may at reasonable times of the day and on giving 24 hours’ notice in writing to the occupier, enter the premises comprised in the lease for the purpose of viewing their condition and state of repair (which is surely what a prospective tenant would want to view)

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                I apologise - I gave you the wrong bit of law, it is section 11(6) of the 1985 Landlord and Tenant Act, which says:

                In a lease in which the lessor’s repairing covenant is implied (which would be any AST)
                How would it apply if the repairing covenant is express and not implied, since most tenancy contracts repeat, in some form, s.11(1)?

                I think s.11(6) may exist to cover situations where there's an oral contract, where s.11(1) is implied, not express.

                Just throwing it out there......

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by westminster View Post
                  How would it apply if the repairing covenant is express and not implied, since most tenancy contracts repeat, in some form, s.11(1)?

                  I think s.11(6) may exist to cover situations where there's an oral contract, where s.11(1) is implied, not express.

                  Just throwing it out there......
                  Section 11(1) says that all such leases have an implied covenant, presumably in addition to anything in writing. I see your point regarding oral agreements, but 11(1) specifically refers to s13 & 14 to identify what tenancies this implied covenant relates to - and there is no distinction in either between oral and written.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by 45002 View Post
                    I wouldn't worry about a court order been taken against you if you refuse LL/LA entry to your home,there are NO known case of a successfully court order been granted !
                    I highly doubt that. If only because of a link to an actual solicitor's website (haven't got time to look for it now) I previously posted and which discussed the issue: They were saying that, as long as there is a legitimate and serious reason, the court will issue an injunction.

                    Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                    Section 11(1) says that all such leases have an implied covenant, presumably in addition to anything in writing. I see your point regarding oral agreements, but 11(1) specifically refers to s13 & 14 to identify what tenancies this implied covenant relates to - and there is no distinction in either between oral and written.
                    My understanding as well.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Yes, I think you are right. The 'presumably in addition to anything in writing' still troubles me slightly, though...but maybe it's like the covenant of quiet enjoyment. Often referred to in a contract, but always implied.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Except for cases of LL issuing a s21 at the end of the tenancy...

                        Originally posted by jjlandlord View Post
                        I highly doubt that. If only because of a link to an actual solicitor's website (haven't got time to look for it now) I previously posted and which discussed the issue: They were saying that, as long as there is a legitimate and serious reason, the court will issue an injunction.


                        I highly doubt that very much your be able to find any actual successfully court cases !


                        But I live in hope that someday,somewhere,someone will be able to show me actual successfully court cases ? regardless of what type of tenancy it is...

                        May I suggest you post the details here http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...812#post337812

                        Thank you...
                        Thunderbirds are go

                        Comment


                          #13
                          As to the covenants implied by section 11, to the extent that an express covenant is narrower the act will apply and to the extent that it is wider the express covenant will apply.

                          I do not think there can be any question of section 11(6) being interpreted to allow inspections by prospective tenants.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                            I do not think there can be any question of section 11(6) being interpreted to allow inspections by prospective tenants.
                            How, specifically, do you think my interpretation (last para, post #7) is incorrect Lawcruncher? In my opinion the clause is not specific enough to limit it to 'repair related' issue other than by virtue of it being in s11. Even then, it specifically says that anyone the landlord allows may view the condition of the place.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Snorkerz View Post
                              How, specifically, do you think my interpretation (last para, post #7) is incorrect Lawcruncher? In my opinion the clause is not specific enough to limit it to 'repair related' issue other than by virtue of it being in s11. Even then, it specifically says that anyone the landlord allows may view the condition of the place.
                              First, I think we can look at what the section is about and that is made clear not only by the heading ("Repairing obligations in short leases") but also by the preceding subsections.

                              Secondly, the words "for the purpose of viewing their condition and state of repair" are not really the words you would expect to see to allow inspections by prospective tenants. Whilst they may be interested in the condition of the property, the primary purpose of the inspection is to determine if the property is suitable.

                              The whole thrust of the section is to ensure that certain repairs are carried by landlords; section 11(6) is no more than an ancillary provision.

                              Comment

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