Property inspection refused and locks changed

Property inspection refused and locks changed

10:19 AM, 11th February 2016, About 6 years ago 21

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I have had the same tenant for four years. The tenancy agreement stated that no locks be changed without the landlords permission, but they have been changed and although I was promised that spare keys would be given to us, this has not happened.access

Originally this was in the hands of an agent, but they found that the tenant would not comply to periodical inspections so I decided to manage the property myself. The rent is always paid regularly ( just a few days late now and then), but the problem is that I need to do an inspection as this has not been done for over two years.

Despite contacting the tenant via his mobile and sending a letter giving him two weeks to arrange a convenient time to allow entry to inspect the property he has completely ignored any attempt to arrange it. I have never increased the rent since he took up the tenancy.

I really need to inspect the property for the state of repair for insurance purposes. Should I have a set of keys and what is the way to get him to allow an inspection?

Any advice appreciated

Jemma



Comments

by Mandy Thomson

9:42 AM, 13th February 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Rob Spencer" at "13/02/2016 - 01:54":

I would only do this as an absolute last resort after the offer to attend with the gas inspector is declined, along with an alternative appointment. Also, as the tenant isn't obstructive to the gas inspection, if he is made aware that the landlord has a duty to inspect for the tenant's own benefit, among other reasons, I'm sure he'll make the time.

by Rob Spencer

13:39 PM, 13th February 2016, About 6 years ago

I would take my route at this particular point, this tenant has had ample opportunity to cooperate and has not already done so, that is not a good sign, as an ex metropolitan police officer and as a Landlord for many years, in my opinion there is more going on with this tenant's circumstances than meets the eye. I have all good long term tenants because I only keep those that cooperate and make my life as a Landlord easier.

by Jemma Brabs

14:53 PM, 13th February 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Rob Spencer" at "13/02/2016 - 01:54":

Thanks Rob,

The gas check is due in about two weeks or so. I'll arrange for the gas inspector, who I know very well, to make an appointment with him and then deliver another letter to him advising that I will be coming to carry out an inspection at the same time as the gas inspector.

If he does not agree to this then I will resort to your suggestion

I cannot understand why he is being so uncooperative. It's not like I am requesting an inspection very often. The last one was over two years ago and since then he has changed the locks.
I wouldn't mind not having a set of keys if he would only cooperate.

by Mandy Thomson

15:14 PM, 13th February 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jemma Brabs" at "13/02/2016 - 14:53":

Maybe that's what it is - he's not used to you inspecting regularly, and probably doesn't appreciate why it's necessary.

Under most landlord licensing schemes, landlords are required to inspect quarterly, and I've read Harrow council expect monthly inspections (though IMO that's over the top and really is intrusive for the tenant, unless the landlord and tenant are great friends!).

Licensing aside, this is also for the tenant's benefit as it allows the landlord to spot any problems before they worsen and gives the tenant the chance to raise issues he might think too trivial to inform you about in the normal way.

We are ALL obliged on occasion to admit officials for inspections, for example, all householders are required to allow access to meter readers every two years.

As well as being a landlord, I was also a tenant until not so long ago, and the only time I had a problem with visits by the management company was when they were unannounced (slap wrist!) although those visits were made by their maintenance men, who weren't always that well mannered either!

If your tenant had been a lodger, just renting a room from you, he would have no right whatsoever to prevent you going into his room, subject to his privacy. To anyone who thinks being a tenant to a good landlord is in any demeaning, they should try being a lodger!

by Chris Byways

21:53 PM, 13th February 2016, About 6 years ago

FWIW, this is the Feb 2016 model AST wording for non emergency access

ACCESS TO THE PROPERTY BY LANDLORD OR AGENT

Routine access
1.51 Provided the Landlord has given the Tenant at least 24 hours’ prior notice in writing, the Tenant must give the Landlord (or any person acting on behalf of the Landlord) access to the Property at reasonable times of day for the following purposes:

(a) to inspect its condition and state of repair;
(b) to carry out the Landlord’s repairing obligations and other obligations under this agreement; and
(c) to carry out any inspections required by law including (but not limited to) gas safety inspections, fire safety inspections and inspections of any smoke or carbon monoxide alarms installed in the Property and to carry out any works, repairs, maintenance or installations (including the installation of any smoke or carbon monoxide alarm) required by law.

Access for the purposes of selling or re-letting the property
1.52 Provided the Landlord has given the Tenant at least 24 hours’ prior notice in writing, the Tenant must give the Landlord (or any person acting on behalf of the Landlord) access to the Property at reasonable times of day in the following circumstances for the purposes specified:

(a) where the Tenant has given notice under clause F2 (Tenant’s rolling 3 month break clause), to show prospective tenants or purchasers, letting agents or estate agents around the Property, but only during the last 3 months of the Tenancy;
(b) where the Landlord has served a notice on the Tenant under clause F3 stating his intention to sell the property, to show estate agents or prospective purchasers around the Property; and
(c) during the last month of the Tenancy, for any of the purposes mentioned in paragraph (a) above.

Access during periods of absence of more than 28 days
1.53 The Tenant agrees that if the Property is to be unoccupied for a period of more than 28 consecutive days, the Landlord may have access during that period for the purposes of keeping the Property insured and taking such steps as may reasonably be necessary to mitigate the risk of damage to the Property during that period.

by Bilbo Baggins

4:54 AM, 14th February 2016, About 6 years ago

As the above link makes clear -(http://www.landlordlawblog.co.uk/2014/09/09/all-about-landlords-rights-to-go-into-their-tenants-property/) - a LL can not just enter the property - regardless of what they may have in their AST - (one can write anything one likes in an AST it does not mean it is legal or enforceable - indeed the clauses themselves may be seen as illegal). LLs should be more aware of the law and the potential consequences of breaking it.
Also do bear in mind it is likely your insurance will have a clause in there stating you must inspect (and be able to prove this) every "X" months. After two years it maybe you are not actually covered if the insurance company choose to take you to task in the event of a claim
The Gas inspection seems a very moot point - you as a LL have a duty to have it done but, as far I as understand, have no legal way of entering the property if the tenant is not playing ball - contacting the NLA may provide further illumination. Sadly I have heard of cases where a judge has sided with one side and similar cases where another judge has sided with the opposite side.
Collating all evidence of your communications and recording all future ones will assist you if it comes to serving a notice/going to court.

by Romain Garcin

10:28 AM, 14th February 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Bilbo Baggins" at "14/02/2016 - 04:54":

Hi Bilbo,

You may see that the point was debated in the comments of that article. I certainly do not agree that that article makes the position clear.

The fact remains that all tenancy agreements grant landlords a right of access (i.e. the tenant has granted permission through the agreement) in specific circumstances when following a specific procedure.
Since that right is granted by a clause inserted by law, I think that the validity of the clause can hardly be questioned.

In my view, and having researched the issue a bit, the tenant cannot legally withdraw this permission and the landlord will therefore do nothing wrong by exercising his right of access. In the same way as, e.g. your neighbour cannot withdraw a right of way that you may have and you won't be trespassing by exercising that right of way.

If the procedure is followed then the landlord will not be trespassing. If the landlord only use the right reasonably then he will not breach the covenant of quiet enjoyment.

I have often asked for, and sought, references to back the claim that the above is incorrect and that the tenant may withdraw his permission at any time, but I have never found any.

In any case, landlords should be careful as a tenant may make many allegations and many local authorities seem to think that a tenant may indeed withdraw permission.

by

10:50 AM, 14th February 2016, About 6 years ago

my friend has received an email from agents saying they will no longer have anything to do with her property do she stop paying rent to them as they have passed all correspondence to one of their directors to deal with as she has a personal interest in the property the emails are very confusing as to where she now stands would asking them for landlords details of address now be appropriate to identify landlord.
as the landlord has always been unknown to her

by Rob Spencer

11:15 AM, 14th February 2016, About 6 years ago

Ashley, your post doesn't make your friend's position clear, however can I suggest first of all your friend does not stop paying their rent which would leave them exposed to enforcement action. They should seek clarification with the agents about the landlord and her own circumstances, and if all else fails, if necessary they could go online and for a few pounds they could obtain a copy of the registered title from the Land Registry, this may show either the address or correspondence address of the registered owner of the property that they may then be able to get in touch with by writing.

by Chris Byways

15:28 PM, 14th February 2016, About 6 years ago

If the TA has the same terms as the Governments Model agreement,

Para 6, 1.51 that I quoted above
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/496721/Model_Agreement_for_an_Assured_Shorthold_Tenancy_and_Accompanying_Guidance.docx#_Toc441836791

...then it is Mandatory, PROVIDING 24 hrs notice, and the time is REASONABLE. no ifs or buts.

Does not say it is conditional on agreement of the tenant, like a rent rise is.

Does not say what the sanction is, but, as you say it is similar to a Right of way. Do you have to go to court or can you 'force' entry, IE use a locksmith, but either way, you have the absolute right, and indeed duty to inspect.


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