Tenants’ Rights for Landlord and Letting Agent Access

As a tenant, you need to know when a landlord, or the managing agent, has the right to enter your home. Landlords will, in most cases, own a separate set of keys so they can independently enter the property you are renting if required. This is useful for landlords and tenants alike, should any issues arise while you  are on holiday or if, for example, you lock yourselves out. The representative owning the keys, however, does not have the right to enter whenever they want.

When can a landlord or letting agent enter the property?

A landlord, or their managing agent, is allowed to enter the property with your permission to organise repairs or run safety checks. Bound by their contract to you, a landlord must make sure that the rental property is safe to live in and, therefore, that all maintenance checks are carried out in good time and are up to the correct standard.

How much notice period do landlords or letting agents have to give before entering the property?

The 1988 Housing Act declared that all landlords and property managers must give tenants a 24-hour notice period before entering the flat. Additionally, the time of entry should be at a reasonable hour during the day. This notice should be in writing, whether by email, letter or text. The written notification acts as a form of proof of the landlord’s notice, thereby complying with the law.

Within your rental agreement, you should find a clear statement of the minimum 24-hour notice period. Anything else, such as a statement concerning the landlord’s ability to enter the property at any given time, is illegal and should not be a clause included in your rental agreement.

male landlord in suit talking to a pair of tenants

Can you refuse access to landlords or letting agents?

You have the right to refuse access to anyone entering your home, unless it’s the police with a court order or if it’s an emergency. There are a few occasions when a landlord is reserved the right to enter your home without prior notice. For example, such circumstances may include when there’s a fire, the smell of gas, a water leakage, suspicious (criminal) activities or structural damages which require immediate reparations.

As such, there will also be times when your landlord will need to enter the property for maintenance and security reasons, for example for annual gas and electricity safety checks or inspections concerning the general upkeep of the building’s interior and exterior. These check-ups should, however, always be organised in advance and, therefore, an adequate notice period should be given.

Anyone who gains access to the property you are renting without your permission is trespassing and, therefore, committing a criminal offence.

What else should you know about landlord and agent access?

When the landlord arranges to enter your home, he should provide you with details concerning the reason of entry, who will enter (e.g. the landlord or workers) and the time at which you can expect them. If you are going to be moving out, the landlord will also contact you to organise viewings for potential tenants. The landlord or agency must always let you know when viewings will be going ahead.

As a landlord, it is their duty to respect what is called your “right to quiet enjoyment”, meaning your right to privacy without any necessary disruptions. If you feel that the landlord is not acting in accordance with the law, keep track of any correspondence or evidence of this and contact the Citizens Advice.

Clear communication between you and your landlord, especially when it comes to damages, is always a good starting ground for a hassle-free tenancy. If you feel your landlord does not adhere to the 24-hour notice period and continuously disrupts you, offer them a friendly reminder that you are entitled to these 24-hours as per your contract.

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