Can we stop the landlords agent doing viewings?

by Readers Question

10:37 AM, 7th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Can we stop the landlords agent doing viewings?

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Can we stop the landlords agent doing viewings?

I rented an apartment for my son that is studying in Cardiff last September.

A contract was signed for 6 months ending March 25th, all rents are paid and the deposit is secured. All the bills are paid and the property is in better condition than we found it. In addition to that we arranged for the garbage to be picked up because the yard was like a dump.

In February this year the landlord asked us if we are extending the lease and we answered that we will be leaving in April before the month is over. We informed her that we might have trouble in paying the last remaining days and she could use the deposit as compensation. Can we stop the landlords agent doing viewings

There was no negative answer from her until a week ago!

She has been arranging viewings of the house since February and people were coming in the house with the realtor even without our knowledge! A couple of times they showed up unexpectedly regardless the protesting mails from our part for this.

My question is : What can the landlord do, legally and can we for the next 10 remaining days refuse any viewings?

Thank you

Zisis Papanikolaou



Comments

Mark Alexander

10:50 AM, 7th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Dear Zisis

There are at least two issues here, I will begin by answering your question.

Tenants have a right to peaceful enjoyment so yes, a tenant is well within their rights to refuse access. Tenants can also change the locks if they wish to do so, providing they give the same number of keys back to the landlords as was originally provided when they check out.

Other issues you could face:-

1) You say the apartment is better now than when your son moved in. That is subjective and if unauthorised refurbishment has occurred then you could be held financially responsible, especially if the landlord can prove what changes have been made based on the check in/out inventories.

2) The deposit is to cover damages, not the last months rent. No landlord will be very impressed with that and it may well be an issue for you when a new landlord obtain references.

3) What rubbish did you have cleared from the yard and was it there when your son moved in? Did he have permission to remove it? If not then he could be charged for it. What your son considers to be rubbish may not be considered to be rubbish by somebody else. Let me give you an example, lets suppose there was a set of wheels and tyres left in a shed. To your son they might be rubbish but to the landlord they could be extremely valuable.

Your final question is what can the landlord do legally. The answer is that she could have numerous claims to make against you for rent arrears and damages. She may well be asked for a reference from a future landlord too. Accordingly it pays to maintain good landlord/tenant relationships wherever possible. That may well include providing reasonable access to the property in order to help the landlord to re-market it for sale or for rent.
.

PATRICIA SIMPSON

12:17 PM, 7th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "07/04/2015 - 10:50":

A landlord has the right to do viewings in the last month of the tenancy. The tenant
has to be contacted at least 24hrs beforehand to be advised of the viewing. That is a standard clause in the tenancy agreement.

Thanks

Pat

Mark Alexander

13:46 PM, 7th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "PATRICIA SIMPSON" at "07/04/2015 - 12:17":

Hi Patricia

That is not true.

A tenant has the right to refuse access. If your AST makes provision for giving 24 hours notice for access and access is not denied then it is fine to go in. However, if access is denied then it is not OK to enter.
.

Joe Bloggs

13:55 PM, 7th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "07/04/2015 - 13:46":

hi mark,

i agree with pat. interference with quiet enjoyment is subjective and the onus is on the tenant to prove that viewings in accordance with the express terms of the AST are a breach of quiet enjoyment. i think that could be a big mountain to overcome if proper notice is given.

also as previously discussed the landlord and tenant act 1985 allows for landlords access upon giving notice, albeit for repairs and viewing the condition.

Mark Alexander

13:58 PM, 7th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Joe Bloggs" at "07/04/2015 - 13:55":

Hi Joe

I think you are wrong so I have invited Tessa Shepperson and Romain Garcin to comment on the basis that they will be able to quote law.
.

Romain Garcin

14:23 PM, 7th April 2015
About 4 years ago

A tenant has no right to refuse access if the tenancy agreement contains a specific clause allowing access, as long as the clause is reasonable.
Quiet enjoyment is not absolute and can be restricted by such clauses. They key is that both parties must behave reasonably.

Obviously, in any case if the tenant physically prevents access the landlord may not bash his way in.
It may also be risky to enter when the tenant is away and has made clear he refuses access: All sorts of allegations can be made...

Realistically, in this case there is little to nothing the landlord can do if Zisis refuses access.
However I reckon Zisis would then have better make sure the house is immaculate for the check out inspection...

Mark Alexander

14:50 PM, 7th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Romain " at "07/04/2015 - 14:23":

Hi Romain

What is to stop Zisis changing the locks?
.

Joe Bloggs

15:00 PM, 7th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "07/04/2015 - 14:50":

hi mark

thanks romain. thats what i thought.

if the tenant does change the locks and refuse access that may be grounds for eviction as it would be a breach of most tenancy agreements?

we make it clear at the outset that we retain keys and so if a lock change was justified i would do it (and retain a new spare key) or expect the tenant to provide me with a key.

anyway i think its v important not to confuse the legal rights and wrong with what may happen in practise.

15:19 PM, 7th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi guys,
I’m afraid I agree with Mark.
The tenant, if on an AST has exclusive possession of the property, therefore they have the right to exclude everyone including the landlord and or his agent.
The tenant has every right to refuse viewings, even if there is a tenancy clause, under OFT Guidance on unfair terms in tenancy agreements, a clause in a tenancy agreement telling the tenant they must grant access for viewings would be deemed unfair and would not be enforceable.
A landlord or agent does not have the legal right to entre the property without the tenants permission, unless in an emergency

Joe Bloggs

15:34 PM, 7th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Julie Ford" at "07/04/2015 - 15:19":

HI Julie,

pl provide link to where OFT states that.

LL does have right under landlord and tenant act 1985. this states nothing about requiring tenants agreement. here is link:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1985/70

s.11. (3A)(6) '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.'

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