When a homeowner leases out their property, they are consciously allowing other people to make a home in a space that they hold ownership to. As such, the new tenants have the right to control who enters the house at all times, including when the actual landlord enters their property.
The question “can my landlord enter my house when I’m not there” is extremely common, meaning that a lot of tenants remain uncertain on how to handle this situation. Even if you are inside the property, you still have the right to refuse entry to your landlord if they haven’t notified you about their visit beforehand.
In this article, we’ll answer some of the most popular questions when it comes to landlords’ access to a property they’ve rented out.
Landlords entering the property without permission in the UK
Sometimes, landlords need access to their rented property for a number of reasons. Maybe they’ve arranged a routine inspection or need to take care of fixtures and fittings? Or perhaps there is emergency work that needs to be done in the property. It’s natural to ask yourself if a landlord can enter without permission in the UK. And the short answer is no.
By law, your landlord is not allowed to enter the property without permission in the UK. Even if your tenancy agreement contract says that the landlord may have access to the property without your permission, the tenant holds a statutory right to live in quiet enjoyment. Under the quiet enjoyment right, the tenant can live peacefully and undisturbed in the property they are renting. This gives the tenant the legal power to manage who enters the property, even when it comes to the landlord.
Apart from a court order, nothing can overrule the quiet enjoyment right.
How much notice does a landlord have to give to enter a property in the UK?
Of course, that doesn’t mean that landlords can never enter the property during the duration of the lease agreement. They may enter legally after providing the tenants with written notice at least 24 hours before the entry. This assumes that the tenants are okay with the entrance but they can also reject the entry if the time is inconvenient. The landlord is obliged to enter the property only at reasonable times, meaning no late night or early morning visits. This way, the tenant is likely to be in the property during the time of visit.
Apart from the time period of 24 hours and the requirement that the visit is done at a reasonable time, there are two more points that the notice must cover in order to legally fit. It must include information about the person who will be entering the property and explaining the reason for the visit. The notice must also consider and respect the quiet enjoyment right that the tenant holds.
What happens if the tenant refuses to grant the landlord access?
Now that you already know that as a tenant, you can refuse entry to your landlord if the time is not convenient or if you have any other concerns about the visit, it’s worth noting what step they can take after your refusal. The landlord may still access your property if they have a legit argument behind it. For instance, there are certain emergency situations which we will cover later on in this article that allow the landlord to enter without prior notice.
One of the actions that the landlord can take after receiving a refusal to enter is to negotiate. They may offer another time for the visit or explain more about the reasons why they want to enter the property. They can also explain the costs that the tenant will be held responsible for if the property is in need of repair, which cannot be arranged due to the lack of access. If unfixed, damaged properties can cause injury, further deterioration, and lead to a lot more problems down the road.
Landlord access to property: Exceptions
As you can imagine, there may be times that call for urgent entry and don’t allow the necessary time for a written notice in the time period that it is required in. For example, if there are emergency situations, the landlord has access rights irrespective of whether the tenant has agreed to it. In such cases, the landlord entering the property without permission is not considered punishable by law. Some of the situations that request immediate access to the property include:
- A fire
- A gas leak or signs of such
- Flooding originating from the property
- Structural damage that calls for immediate care
- Potential violence or criminal activities taking place inside the property
Reasons for entry
There are plenty of legitimate reasons for your landlord to request entry to the property. For instance, while you are moving in, the landlord will need to visit the property to compare its current condition to the one you found it in when you signed the lettings contract. Another visit will be necessary when you move out. Additionally, landlords reserve the right to organise and carry out inspections while you are renting the property to ensure it is maintained in good condition. This also allows them to spot any repair necessities early on and fix them before the problem becomes worse and more expensive.
Another reason for entry is to allow any workers to conduct their repair and maintenance services. A gas safety check may also be a valid argument for your landlord to request access to the property. Not to mention that landlords are obliged by law to have an annual inspection of the gas installation and to renew the gas safety certificate of the property. Finally, viewings with people interested in renting the property towards your end of tenancy or purchasing the property if it is being sold are also reasons for an entry that tenants must comply with.
We hope that you’ll find this information useful if you are a tenant or landlord. If you need professional advice or would like a consultation from an expert, reach out to our specialised real estate agents for help.