Can I refuse viewings or photographs being taken?

by Readers Question

14:41 PM, 26th June 2019
About 3 months ago

Can I refuse viewings or photographs being taken?

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Can I refuse viewings or photographs being taken?

I am currently a private tenant, renting via a lettings agency, with my partner. We’re coming to the end of our contract (13th July) and have a couple of questions on our ‘rights’ and what’s acceptable.

Over the last few weeks there have been lots of viewings arranged by the agent. Monday to Saturday, often 4-5 viewings a day, between 9am-7pm. We generally have no problem with this of course and understand that the landlord wants another tenant lined up ready to move in when we move out, and we go to quite some effort to make sure the property is as presentable as possible – to the point that every evening and every morning before work we’re doing a clean/tidy to make sure as far as possible that there’s nothing of our doing that puts prospective tenants off.

However, do we have the right to refuse certain viewings if it isn’t convenient?

We both work during the day, and know most people viewing the property will too. Me and my partner both work 8am-4pm, arriving home at about 5pm and then settling down for our evening meal/showers/recreation etc. We really don’t want viewings at 6pm onwards, can we refuse these? Or at least ask the agent to only arrange evening viewings perhaps one evening a week?

My second question is that the property has been advertised for several weeks, and we have seen the advert and noticed the pictures are quite out of date – almost misleading – being dated years before we moved in 2 years ago. The agent informed that they would be attending the property tomorrow for an ‘inspection’ and to take up to date photographs and ask that we make the property presentable.

I have postponed this at the moment, as
1) I don’t want our possessions being photographed (it is a furnished property but we do have some pieces of our own furniture and all of our possessions on display).
2) we can’t make the property presentable enough for pictures as we’re preparing to move out so things are in chaos with packing etc.
3) The agent inspected the property only 5 weeks ago, and there is another inspection when we hand over our keys and go through the check-out on 13th July – I just don’t think another ‘inspection’ is justifiable, when their agents are in and out of the property almost every day conducting viewings.

So in summary.
1) can we refuse some viewings even if they give us 24+ hrs notice
2) can we stipulate only certain evenings are free for late viewings
3) can we refuse photographs being taken of the flat whilst our possessions are in situe
4) can the agents come into the property during a viewing which we’ve given permission for, but then take pictures even though we have told them we do not want them being taken whilst our possessions are in the property.
5) can we refuse access for an inspection based on us believing it’s unreasonable to have 3 inspections within a 7 week period

I’d really appreciated any advice or feedback on this. I know agents and landlords often struggle with these things and we really don’t want to be difficult, but at the same time we are still paying for the property and want it to feel like ‘home’ as much as possible, and I’ve seen quite a bit written about ‘quiet enjoyment’. I just can’t seem to find anything that sets out any rights or legal bits about what ‘power’ we actually have as tenants.

Thanks

Samantha



Comments

Mick Roberts

8:08 AM, 27th June 2019
About 3 months ago

I don't want to be a killjoy here, but how would u ever manage if u ever owned a house & wanted to sell it? Ooh sorry, u can't take photo's, that's our personal possessions there.
You say the photos are out of date, but u won't let them take any up to date ones. Beggars belief. Move your Rolex watch off the side when photographer comes in then.
I'd let someone in at 7pm if it mean't a possible sale. But some tenants don't give a hoot about if the Landlord needs another tenant or buyer. The same Landlord that has housed u for so long. Some renters have no morals when they leave a house.
You'll learn all this if u ever buy a house & look back at how unreasonable u was.
I say this cause I'm in same boat now, have a HB tenant who don't work but don't want any viewings on the house for sale after 5pm, when 95% of all the people (working buying) can only make it.
Some tenants are on another planet.
It's a few weeks out your life of hassle. What if another You was out there wanting to look & You wasn't letting them.
3 Inspections over 7 weeks. Whoopee Doo end of the world. U want to try being a Landlord, get an inspection & then get a 5k fine cause the tenant has removed the batteries out the smoke alarm.
You say You don't want to be difficult. Well u used the word.
Recreation? What does that word mean? Do u mean relax or just recreation?
Ha ha I'm sorry to seem harsh as I normally don't try to slate people on here, but some people are in another world. And I know you've let some in, but What is it, you've had enough, there's been viewings, no one's took it so far, they can wait now till we've moved. As I said, some tenants will wake up IF THEY EVER buy a house & they HAVE TO BE MORE THAN REASONABLE or it don't sell.

Jim Fox

8:10 AM, 27th June 2019
About 3 months ago

Hi Samantha.
From what you say, it appears that you are trying to fulfill your duties as an outgoing tenant to have your property neat and tidy for viewings, which is ideal for your landlord.
As to refusing to allow viewings on certain days/evenings, your Tenancy Agreement should specify when viewings at the end of your tenancy can be carried out.
It really boils down to 'reasonableness', in that you and the landlords agent should be able to agree that say 2 evenings per week (on pre-agreed days) plus weekends can be used for viewings, as well as during normal working hours of weekdays.
As for taking photos of the rooms, again, I would suggest that this should have been carried out prior to the start of your tenancy, but if these need to be refreshed due to you having lived in the property for a number of years, then perhaps this is now necessary?
If so, then a pre-agreed date should be set for the photo session, to enable you to place any private/sensitive belongings in cupboards/drawers.
Once again, I feel its down to having an amicable discussion with your landlord or his agent, explaining your concerns, but offering to be as accommodating as possible, under the circumstances.

Lindsay Keith

8:16 AM, 27th June 2019
About 3 months ago

Hi Samantha

I suggest you follow Jim Fox's advice. Let Sweet Reason prevail?

Dale James

8:16 AM, 27th June 2019
About 3 months ago

The basis of a 'tenancy' is the tenants right to exclude others, otherwise it would be like a licence or lodgers agreement.
Its nice if a tenant helps but, even if it is in the ast, the tenants have the right to refuse access.

Trevor Cooper

8:19 AM, 27th June 2019
About 3 months ago

Hi Samantha, I agree with Jim, it's about both sides being reasonable. With my tenants that are leaving, I just have a phone call with them and agree what can and can't be done and then pass the instruction to the agent copying in the tenant. This way everyone is respected and things tend to run smoothly (well they have done for me over the last 22 years anyway!) Why not have a chat with your landlord if thats possible in this case...

Mike W

8:53 AM, 27th June 2019
About 3 months ago

Hi Samantha, You asked some reasonable questions and have received a range of views. It all comes down to what is reasonable. Unfortunately it is a 3 party situation whereby an agent is acting for the landlord and appears to be acting in their (the agent's) own interest. So some thoughts.
You are paying rent and I'm sure your contract will say that you, in return for the rent payment, are entitled to the peaceful occupation. Then at the end of your tenancy there will be a clause covering viewings. It is important that you read that clause. I suspect that there is no clause in your contract which requires you to allow photos. I use the word requires. You may allow it but I suspect you have the right to refuse. One res ponder has made the comparison with selling the property. I do not see the comparison other than there is some logistical similarity. A seller has a financial interest to present. You do not. But you may wish to be reasonable and understand his position. As a reasonable landlord, he may understand your position: win - win. As a landlord I have always recognised this and carefully liaise with the tenant to agree what can and cannot be done. I restrict viewings to fit in with the tenant whether I am selling or re renting. For example I try to batch viewings on one day over 1-2 hours depending on how many interested parties I have. Since my properties tend to go quickly both I and the tenant can fully co-operate. Both, in my opinion, are reasonable.
To answer your specific questions:
1. It depends. If your contract says they have the right, then it would be whether it was reasonable if there are a multitude of requests or their were sound reasons for you to say no.
2. I think that is reasonable if you have had multiple requests and it is being disruptive for you. (Keep records)
3. Yes and put it in writing. I am always surprised that security is an aspect which is not seriously considered in the process of advertising ....
4. No, particularly if you have told them no AND there is nothing in your contract which specifically says they have that right. If they do take photos then I suggest you report them to the agents regulator and write to them saying that you hold them responsible for any loss you may incur as a result of your loss of security. There are legal aspects here.
5. Yes if you have reason to believe that they have no legitimate reason for the inspection. To put this into perspective: As a bachelor (many years ago) an agent requested an inspection. I took time off work to be at the property. The inspection took an hour and was 'kind of formal' with clip board etc. Two weeks later I had another request. I contacted them to ask why they now wanted another. They said they had not done an inspection two weeks prior. I took another day off work. The same person came round with the clip board. Nothing was noted. Only this time when the agent moved to leave I said they could not leave unless they signed a piece of paper saying they had undertaken an inspection at time and date. (It was many years ago when technology was not as it is today.) There was an impasse for a few minutes. She eventually signed. I never had another inspection for the next three years (when I left). When I told the landlord he was very apologetic. Incompetent agent.

Harlequin Garden

9:28 AM, 27th June 2019
About 3 months ago

I generally carry out my own viewing but in a recent tenancy change I did use agents and found that they like to deal directly with the tenant - which means calling/texting to say that they are coming which with a couple of agents engaged meant many viewings which were unsuccessful as the tenant was unhappy and obstructive (he was anyway) and had an issue about the viewings because of his own 'personal belongings' (a very large sofa and TV). It ended up pretty disastrous and carried on for a month as he'd deny access to arranged viewings. I found that the agents were very unhelpful in continuing to arrange viewings - a very vicious circle. Had there been just one or two 'good' viewings (where the prospective tenant had been allowed to relax or look out of the window) it would have gone quickly. I was also not aware for a couple of weeks that the agents were doing this, they'd arrange a viewing either do the viewing with a stroppy tenant or be denied access but not feed back to me. So my suggestion is to deal directly with the landlord and arrange certain days (and this will include early evenings) when viewings can be done. Don't be too precious about your 'personal belongings' it's the layout and size that a new tenant is looking at.

I did have one flat that was proving difficult to let - when I went around to check I found 3 guinea pigs in a long run taking up a third of the floor space things very untidy and scruffy. Once the pigs went and the place given a smarten up it went to the next viewer so if it you do present well it could avoid a long stream of viewings.

Seething Landlord

9:36 AM, 27th June 2019
About 3 months ago

The right to quiet enjoyment means that the tenant is in control of who can enter the premises, regardless of what it says in the tenancy agreement.

Frederick Morrow-Ahmed

13:09 PM, 27th June 2019
About 3 months ago

I believe the right to quiet enjoyment overrides every other clause. No one can come into the property without your permission while you are still a tenant. You could potentially call the police if anyone tried to force their way in. But that said, most landlords and tenants have a good relationship and do this on a reasonable basis.

Dale James

16:38 PM, 27th June 2019
About 3 months ago

That is correct, the only way a landlord can go back into his property is with your permission or a Court order.
However, we are all human beings! If there is a convenient time for viewings let the Landlord know ...... agreement between landlord and tenant overrides the tenancy clauses

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