Can I refuse viewings or photographs being taken?

by Readers Question

14:41 PM, 26th June 2019
About 2 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that the property has been advertised for several weeks, and we have seen the advert and noticed the pictures are quite out of date – almost misleading – being dated years before we moved in 2 years ago.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

Graham Bowcock

16:46 PM, 27th June 2019
About 2 months ago

Hi Samantha

I don;t think your concerns are unreasonable; as others have said you have the right to quiet enjoyment. Your tenancy may well refer to you doing viewings, but it would be difficult for a landlord to enforce and, even if you agree there do need to be limits as to numbers and times.

In my agency days we always agreed with existing tenants that we would do a mall number of viewings at agreed times; we never had free range of houses which are occupied. If a tenant did not want photographs taken we did not take photographs. We always worked hard at maintaining relationships with our tenants until they had left.

Where we had landlords trying to compel us to do viewings beyond what we felt was reasonable we always spoke openly with both parties to try and agree as much as we could but reminding landlords that the tenant could refuse outright (irrespective of the tenancy clauses). I am landlord myself so know the score, but some landlords do want their cake and want to eat it.

I suggest you outline your concerns to the agent and set out your ground rules (without seeming too unreasonable). A good agent will listen to you and act accordingly.

Jireh Homes

17:11 PM, 27th June 2019
About 2 months ago

Hi Samantha - there does appear to be an inordinate number of viewings, which is perhaps the instigating reason for your post. As mentioned by many other respondents, it not unreasonable to limit the number and times of availability, and to decline photographs (which with the amount of interest apparently being shown not a deterrent). The time to have taken "updated" photos was before you moved in, not relying on a much older set. Allan

Annie Landlord

18:34 PM, 27th June 2019
About 2 months ago

Does any of this ring true?

Cathie Hawkins

20:48 PM, 27th June 2019
About 2 months ago

I’m sorry that you have had to endure some negative posts. It sounds like you have tried to be helpful. I can only say what I would hope to get from my tenants; a couple of days a weeks for viewings, including an evening and a weekend day. Photos perhaps of some rooms - with agreement from you in advance.
Communication is key.

Anthony Endsor

15:49 PM, 28th June 2019
About 2 months ago

Hi Samantha
The truth of the matter is, you have the right to be as difficult as you like with your landlord. If you wish to refuse viewings, then that is your right. If the property doesn't let, then that's the landlord's problem I guess.
The only slight problem with this is when you come to look for another property. Will your new landlord want to reference you? Like hell they will! And who will they ask for a reference? Your previous landlord who you have put through absolute hell totally unnecessarily for months. So what do you do? You'll now have to find a new home with a landlord who isn't bothered about your past behaviour or who won't ask. Good luck with that as there are not too many of them left.
If you are so concerned about the old photos, why won't you let them be updated? Doesn't make sense.
If there was to be any advantage in you being difficult, i.e. you would be able to stay in the house longer, I could almost understand, but you are being obstructive for no reason. You've set a date to leave, so surely it isn't too much to ask for you to come to a reasonable arrangement with them landlord and agent? Then you wonder why rents are going up. It is because landlords are leaving the market as they are sick of dealing with tenants like you.

Puzzler

7:40 AM, 29th June 2019
About 2 months ago

Your tenancy ends mid-July so they can only have started viewings after you gave your notice in mid-June, that is only two weeks (not a few, although it may seem like it). If you have had that many viewings then photos are not the issue and I would expect a let quite soon (unless the flat is found disappointing) in which case the viewings will end. If I were your landlord I would be asking why all these viewings were not resulting in a let. If it's because the property needs attention, I would wait until you move out. Obviously they are anxious to turn around quickly but without knowing what the property looks like it's diffcult to make a judgment.

Jessie Jones

21:29 PM, 29th June 2019
About 2 months ago

Samantha,
You do indeed have the right to quiet enjoyment and nobody can insist on entry if it doesn't suit you. But have a look at your agreement. If the contract includes a clause that permits viewings, and you refuse them then you will be in breach of the contract.
It would be unusual for a landlord to sue you for such a breach, but there are unusual landlords, just as much as there are unusual tenants.
It might be that a court would find in your favour, that your right to quiet enjoyment overrides your contractural obligations. But it might also be that a court would find against you, in that a few viewings did not amount to a breach of your quiet enjoyment.
Neither party is likely to want the risk of the huge legal fees that this would entail. But to be on the safe side I would urge reasonableness by both parties.

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