Our landlady is selling; do we have to allow viewings?

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  • Our landlady is selling; do we have to allow viewings?

    My boyfriend and I rent a house in the UK - officially through an estate agent but the landlady usually makes contact with us direct.

    We have lived here since October 05, on fixed term contracts of 12 months and then six months. The last contract just expired and we are now on what our EA terms a "rolling contract" - ie, month by month basis.

    Our landlady sent me a text message today to say she is putting the house on the market. She said she would give us notice for moving out, but that we would have to allow viewings.

    However, we are not thrilled by the idea of viewings in general and are very much OPPOSED to viewings when we are not home. It seems our contents insurance would become invalid in the case of theft or damage during a visit. We therefore want to insist on being home for all visits.
    Our LL has already given her selling agent (who is different to our letting agent) keys to our property. I am concerned about this, as I do not want strangers having open access to our home.

    My questions are:

    - Do we have any rights to insist on accompanied viewings?
    - Do we have any rights to request the keys be taken back from the EA?
    - Does our LL have to give formal written notice of sale, or is a text message enough?
    - Does the fact that we are on a 'rolling contract' compromise our rights?
    - What rights of action do we have if she or the EA enters our property without consent?

    And anything else that people think I need to know!
    I hope that wasn't too long... we really love this house and think of it as home, and would like to enjoy the time we have left here.

  • #2
    Originally posted by aranel View Post
    - Do we have any rights to insist on accompanied viewings?
    Yes
    - Do we have any rights to request the keys be taken back from the EA?
    Erm - dunno, but you certainly have the right to insist that the EA doesn't ever use them to enter the property.
    - Does our LL have to give formal written notice of sale, or is a text message enough?
    AFAIK she doesn't need to tell you she's selling at all; however she will need to give you two month's written notice to quit, which should be in the form of a properly-worded Section 21 notice if she wants it to carry any legal weight in court, should you decide to ignore it. But it's entirely possible that you have already been served with a 'precautionary' S21 notice at the start of or at any time during your tenancy
    Does the fact that we are on a 'rolling contract' compromise our rights?
    Certainly not. It's called a 'periodic' tenancy.
    What rights of action do we have if she or the EA enters our property without consent?
    Ultimately, you could sue for breach of your right to 'quiet enjoyment' of the property, and you'd almost certainly win. At this stage you should write to the agent and landlord pointing out that you are not permitting unaccompanied viewings but will agree to viewings by prior arrangement when you are at home (and you don't have to do that!), and that if your conditions are broken you will seek legal redress. No reason why you can't change the locks forthwith, by the way, provided you change them back when you leave. That will of course really irritate your LL though; you may not want to escalate things to that level yet...!

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    • #3
      Talk to your landlady direct with your issues...maybe you might find a solution for you both?

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      • #4
        good advice given already however legally you dont have to allow viewings at all until the owner has provided you with 2 months notice. Most contracts state that during the last 2 months of the tenancy the must must allow potential purchasers or tenants around the property after being given prior notice.

        However it is best of course to keep on good terms with owner and ea.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Poppy35 View Post
          good advice given already however legally you dont have to allow viewings at all until the owner has provided you with 2 months notice. Most contracts state that during the last 2 months of the tenancy the must must allow potential purchasers or tenants around the property after being given prior notice.

          However it is best of course to keep on good terms with owner and ea.
          You dont have to allow access for viewings full stop, whether 2 months notice has been given or not. Although try and be a little flexiable and give some suitable times when you will be available to accompany viewings, after all you dont want issues with your deposit and a good reference?

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          • #6
            Of course, L could sell subject to your existing tenancy. It would not down-value the property, a purchaser might be happy to have good tenants in situ, and you could stay there uninterrupted. Why not suggest this to L or even offer to buy it as sitting tenants (so she would avoid Estate Agents' fees)?
            JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
            1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
            2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
            3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
            4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

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            • #7
              thank you for the replies and knowledge!

              I am drafting a letter right now explaining our conditions for viewings. That really is a very good idea, ad I feel better knowing I'm doing it.

              Today someone from the selling agent turned up on our doorstep with a camera to take pictures and measurements! Out of the blue as far as we were concerned, though it did transpire that he had left a message on our disused answering machine. But thats not enough right? they actually have to get verbal consent?
              I think I'm going to call and complain to the manager - try and get the ground rules established with them right away, then back it up with my letter.

              We will try and be flexible, I think the time slots idea will work well. It seems like the problems will all be directly from the EA, as she lives in another city and wont be very involved.
              We'd love to buy it ourselves, but sadly it is out of our price range . I'm holding out that someone might buy to rent - she did at one point consider advertising it as with tenants, but changed her mind for some reason.

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