Do I need written permission from tenant for access to flat?

by Readers Question

8:12 AM, 17th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Do I need written permission from tenant for access to flat?

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Do I need written permission from tenant for access to flat?

My tenants are working during day, so have verbally agreed that I will meet gas engineer there to allow him access for annual gas check. Do I need written permission from tenant for access to flat

All perfectly logical and amicable – except it has taken over two months, multiple texts, many e-mails and an engineer wasting his time with a ‘no access’ visit to get this far ! First time I’ve had such a problem with something that should be so simple. We have a slight communication problem here, English is not their first language.

Should I ask tenants for signed permission to access flat in their absence?

I wouldn’t normally, with previous tenants I’d just have a verbal agreement that I would let a tradesman have access if my tenants were at work.

Or is it the other way round ? It IS my flat, as long as I have given them fair notice, and the law requires ME to ensure the annual safety check is done. Should I be giving them signed notice that I WILL be entering there home to facilitate the legally-required GasSafe inspection.

Or is it better to keep things informal as long as we can reach amicable agreement …

Thanks

Polly


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Comments

Mark Alexander

8:42 AM, 17th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Hi Polly

You might well own the flat but you have granted a tenancy which means that your tenant has a right to peaceful enjoyment, even if they are in arrears would you believe?

However, the good news is that it is very unusual for tenants to refuse you the right to access.

From a practical perspective, what I do is call the tenants and explain that I need to get an annual Gas Safety Inspection done for their safety and so that I can continue to comply with the law. I then ask them whether they want to be in the property when the gas engineer does the safety inspection or whether they would prefer me to let him in and supervise him whilst he is there. Most working tenants go for the second option.

I then call them back to let them know the date and time of the inspection and ask them to let me know whether that is convenient. I also take this opportunity to ask them whether there is anything that needs fixing in the property whilst I will be there.

I then follow up with a letter along the following lines ....

Dear ......

Just a short note to confirm that I will be visiting your property at TIME/DATE with a gas safe engineer to complete your annual gas safety check. Whilst I am there I will also take a look at ............... for you as per your request.

As agreed I will let myself and the gas engineer into the property using my spare key and I will supervise him whilst he is in your home. I will leave a copy of the gas safety certificate next to your cooker when you are done and make sure the property is secure when we leave. I will make sure he takes his boots off too so that you don't come home to any mess.

If the agreed appointment should, for any reason, become inconvenient please try to give me at least 24 hours notice so that I can rearrange with it costing any more money.

Many thanks and kind regards

...........

To cover my own back I then send the letter with proof of postage, NOT registered or recorded delivery as that's too official looking and also costs money.

If your tenant does refuse access you CANNOT just let yourself in. If you do so you are trespassing and the fines for that can be very nasty indeed! As I've said though, if you have a decent relationship with your tenant that's very unlikely to happen.

Worst case scenario is if your tenant refuses access unreasonably. This immediately sets off the alarm bells in most peoples minds as we naturally get very suspicious about what is going on in OUR properties.

If this happens then you need some professional help. A solicitor will cost you a fortune but Tessa Shepperson from Landlord Law has produced an excellent self help kit very recently. Unfortunately you have just missed out on the launch pricing but it's still incredibly good value at £75 plus VAT. Please see >>> http://www.property118.com/tenants-refusing-access-for-gas-safety-inspections-survey-results-from-landlord-law/63217/

I hope that helps and good luck 🙂
.

Doug Green

10:59 AM, 17th February 2014
About 7 years ago

I used to act as middle-man and arrange the appointments myself, but realised the pointless extra work involved. I now text the tenant's details to the gas engineer, who makes the appointment himself. I text or call the tenant to let them know the inspection is imminent, with the name of the gas guy.

Works quite well, and rarely do I have to get proactive and tell the tenant to be co-operative.

Regards - Doug

Anthony Endsor

21:14 PM, 17th February 2014
About 7 years ago

As we all know, Gas Safety Checks are a legal requirement, and if they are not done, heavy fines can follow.
From what I understand, it is the Landlord's responsibility initially to arrange for the check to be done. If the Landlord gives written notice of at least 24 hours, they are perfectly within their right to visit the property and expect the tenant to grant access, for whatever reason. However, in the case of a Gas Safety Check which is a legal requirement, I was led to believe that if the tenant failed to co-operate, the Landlord had no choice but to issue a Section 8 Notice. This being as the Landlord has been unable to fulfil their legal requirement, and to prevent being heavily fined because of the tenant's negligence, as the tenant is in breach of the tenancy agreement.

Mark Alexander

8:20 AM, 18th February 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Anthony Endsor" at "17/02/2014 - 21:14":

It's not that simple Anthony - see >>> http://www.property118.com/tenant-refusing-gas-safety-check/43288/

Maybe it was the above thread which influenced Tessa Shepperson to produce her related Landlord Law self help kit?
.


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