Landlord’s right to visit his property with or without notice

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My understanding  of the housing act is that a landlord cannot just visit his property when he likes, he has to give the tenant adequate notice, usually 24hrs.

Please correct me if I am wrong. I also have a few questions

1. Does this notice have to be a written notice, and if so how should it be delivered so that a troublesome tenant can’t deny getting one.

2. Does this notice cover more than one visit if assuming the property needed some attention and the landlord would need to make more than one visit to put things right.

3. If a simple phone call to the tenant was made to give a 24hrs Notice, can a tenant claim to not have been warned and the landlord turned up unannounced?

4. What are the rights of a Landlord when a tenant has not only breached many tenancy conditions but also fallen behind in rent by several months, does a landlord need to give his/her tenant a notice when the rent arrears have reached more than 6 months?

I will appreciate your answers to above questions.

Thanks

Mike

Landlord's right to visit his property with or without notice

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Comments

  • Hi Mike,

    I’ll try to answer your questions as best i can:

    With regards to entering the property this is Section 11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act. A landlord must give a tenant not less than 24 hours written notice (which i suggest you obtain a certificate of posting from the post office just in case), please do note that this is only for the purpose of viewing the condition and state of repair. It also has to be at what is considered a reasonable time i would suggest some time from 10am – 8pm as in my eyes this would seem reasonable. The act also grants the tenant the right to refuse you access at any time if it is inconvenient, however the tenant should have a good reason to refuse access, although just for safety if a tenant refuses access it is best just to accept it as it is a judges decision as to what is considered reasonable.

    If the tenant continually refuses access without good reason then this is in breach of contract and this is effectively a legal trigger to allow you to serve notice if everything else was in good order.

    If the tenant allows you access but is not present at the property i would strongly advise that you are accompanied by a third party.

    I would write a notice every time you were to visit the property as the act does not specify the frequency at which the notice applies to and therefore i would consider one notice to be one visit.

    If you ring the tenant this is not in accordance with the landlord and tenant act and therefore without fail i would always write and obtain a certificate of posting as proof.

    You can serve a section 21 notice to evict a tenant at the end of the fixed term providing the notice is served two months prior to the termination date or if your tenancy is periodic you can give 2 months notice from the term date. If the tenant leaves and handsover the keys then fantastic if not, after the date on the section 21 notice you will have to fill out an N5B and submit it to the courts which providing that all forms are filled out correctly should (although doesn’t always) result in the tenant leaving 30 days from the ruling ( i was involved in one case which went on for a year and a half due to the tenant appealing) even though it is a mandatory ruling.

    For rent arrears you could always pursue this through the small claims court.

    Another route would be a section 8 notice for breach of contract and rent arrears, which would be served on the tenant and then from the date on your notice you can fill the rest of the documentation in online to commence court proceedings.

    With regards to legals and rent arrears, a rent guarantee insurance can save you a lot of hassle and limit any financial pain.

    I hope this helps a little.


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  • As a side note I would actually advise when visiting the property to always take a third party as i have heard some horrific landlord stories over the years.


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  • Hi Chris

    Do you know the story about why Paul Routledge set up Landlord Referencing Services?

    Well, to cut a long story short he was stabbed in the head 5 times by a tenant under these exact circumstances.

    We covered the story in more detail here >>> http://www.property118.com/landlord-stabbed-in-the-head-5-times-by-drug-dealer-takes-action-lrsreferencing/17091/


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  • Good afternoon Mike

    Section 11 Subsection 6 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 has this to say on the matter:

    “In a lease in which the lessor’s repairing covenant is implied 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.”

    However, because of the tenant’s right to quiet occupation, your tenant is entitled to refuse you entry and if you gain access without permission, you may be guilty of harassment (the exception being access to communal areas in an HMO let on an individual room basis). As Chris said, the tenant will be in violation of their tenancy agreement if they repeatedly refuse access without good cause. It’s a bit of a legal tennis match, which we recently published a blog about.

    With regards to your questions:

    1. The notice should be written, at least 24 hours in advance, and it’s advisable to deliver it by recorded post. You should retain a copy of the letter and proof of posting for your own records.

    2. Each individual time you gain entry, be it for repairs or an inspection, you need to give 24 hours’ notice. The exception to this rule is if there is an emergency, such as a flood or fire, in which case you can enter at will.

    3. A phone call alone isn’t sufficient, though it is always worth substantiating the written notice with a quick phone call, email or text exchange to make sure the tenant is fully aware of, and happy with, your visit.

    4. I’m afraid that you have to give 24 hours’ notice irrespective of arrears or any other contractual breaches of which the tenant might be guilty. This includes extreme arrears cases, such as those of several months.

    I hope this helps.
    Warm regards


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  • @Mark – i hadn’t heard that story, all the more reason to take a third party with you to view a property.

    A question I’ve sought advise on in the past (which i don’t believe to have been the correct advise) is what is the course of action if a tenant does not allow the plumber access to carry out the gas safety certificate.

    I was told by one firm that you have to demonstrate that you have contacted the tenant three times, would this stand up in court?

    Another firm told me that you would have to seek a warrant from the courts to allow access to carry out a gas safety certificate, which to me seems like quite a lengthy process for something which is a very key point to the safety of the tenant and the property.

    I suppose this would lead back to section 11 of the landlord and tenant act whereby if a tenant repeatedly refuses access you serve notice and have to have demonstrated attempts to access the property three times in writing.

    I’ve always managed to get the plumber into the property eventually to carry out the certificate but if the tenant were to refuse access Is the above correct or are there any special circumstances relating to a GSC as it is a safety matter?

    I appreciate that if a tenant isn’t allowing access they are most likely not an ideal tenant, but it is something i have never received an answer which i am confident in.


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  • Brian, Chris Sheldon and others, thank you for your advice, I really was under the impression that once a tenant breaks the rules, then providing a 24hr notice is no longer an issue.

    On the other hand, last year when I took with me a Heating Engineer specialist in Warm Air heating, it was found to our horror that not only had the tenant not notified me of the heating broken down, (rather quite extensively and caused by the tenant’s own actions)

    The tenant started to use a portable Calor gas appliance which goes against the tenancy rules.

    but also blocked with a adhesive tape all permanent vents, to the horror of the heating engineer who almost refused to conduct a safety check and restore the WAU that had suffered a major failure due to a reason I shall explain below.

    One of the warm air ducts had been blocked or stuffed with her own jacket, i guess to stop heating one room to save on heating costs, but this resulted in heat building up and resulted in my WAU from plastic panel to melt! (or rather deform badly)

    That panel as well as over temperature sensors were replaced as the cause of the overheat was a sensor failure, but later on when the Heating engineer tested the appliance after replacing all crucial parts, only then it was discovered that one of the warm air vents was not blowing warm air out and seemed blocked, so when we took the front grill cover out, there was this great big padded jacket stuffed inside!

    That was horrific!

    So now if I were to give her 24Hr notice, how do i know for sure that she is not using the calor gas any more plus what i9f she has still blocked the permanent vents for open flue requirements, quite honestly in a case like this where deaths can occur due to negligence of the tenant, I should have the right to make unannounced inspections for her own safety. But i know doing so will only cause me the hardship and nobody would look at the fact I am actually doing her a favour and she has two little boys!


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  • @Chris & Mike

    I know how you both feel about this. I once had a tenant who would not allow an engineer in to do a Gas check. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place and ended up serving her notice and I really didn’t want to do that as she was otherwise OK. Fortunately she did move out without me having to take her to Court but by that time my Gas Safety certificate was three months out of date. If I had had to go to Court it could so easily have been six months or more! I never did get an explanation as to why she would not let the Gas engineer in. After the second attempt I tried a different Gas engineer, so three failed attempts to gain access in all, just in case she had something against the first one she wasn’t telling me. I shudder to think what would have happened if there has been a gas explosion in that property. Would the fact that I could call on two gas engineers as a witnesses to the fact that I had done everything possible have saved me from prosecution?


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  • Thanks for your comments Mark, and because being a person of responsibility, I rightfully informed my Lettings Agents and when they saw me in a sinking ship, they simply abandoned me when I most needed their spport.

    They abandoned me because I reported to them how the tenant they chose for me, ended up not paying me rent and started to use lethal portable gas heating, and never reported to them or to me that my Warm Air Unit had overheated and its front panel cover had deformed beyond recognition!

    It was almost like they sabotaged the heating so that I am forced to replace it with brand new wet radiator heating because she had always wanted a wet system, but she had a choice, if she did not like my place she could have got out and rented another, whilst I am a landlord, I don’t grow money in fields.


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