WHEN ARE LANDLORDS ALLOWED TO ACCESS THEIR PROPERTY?
Residential landlords tread a fine line between actively maintaining their properties while leaving tenants to live in peace. While you may be the rightful owners of the property, you are subject to regulations that stipulate when you can enter a property occupied by tenants and how to initiate these visits.
What is a landlord’s right of entry?
Tenants are likely to regard the property as their home. Under “the covenant for quiet enjoyment”, UK law entitles tenants to enjoy the property without interference from landlords, letting agents or anyone acting on their behalf.
But there will be times when you need to access their tenanted property, whether it’s to carry out emergency repairs or to perform routine inspections.
Those situations are covered under the following three stipulations:
- Right of reasonable access
This allows landlords to enter to carry out repairs. In an emergency, “reasonable access” allows landlords to enter immediately, such as if there is a fire in the property, if you can smell gas, or if there is structural damage which requires urgent attention. In other circumstances you need to give notice.
- Right to inspect
Landlords can enter for routine visits such as inspections, but you don’t have any right to go in without giving notice.
- Right to enter to provide services
If it’s stipulated in the tenancy agreement signed by the tenants, you can enter the property without notice to provide an ongoing service, such as room cleaning.
What to consider
Legally, you must give 24 hours’ notice before entering a property.
Although many landlords choose to give more notice than this, as well as 24 hours’ notice, most standard tenancy agreements will say you should only arrange to visit at “reasonable” times of day.
Can my tenant refuse access to my property?
Yes, tenants are within their rights to refuse you access – usually this happens if the date and time isn’t convenient, and you can simply rearrange. If a tenant persistently tries to obstruct you from entering the property, you can take steps including applying for a court order or serving a notice of eviction.
Part of being a reliable, reputable landlord is ensuring you have the right insurance in place. Thorntons can arrange Property Owners’ Insurance to suit you and your properties, with vital covers including Landlords’ Liability and Trace and Access.