When renting out a property there can be confusion about what appear to be conflicting rights of Landlords and Tenants. The Tenant has the right to “quiet enjoyment of the property” and the Landlord has the right to access the property for inspections or to make repairs. The ever changing legal landscape for tenancy agreements makes this fine line ever harder to understand and this can lead to tensions between the Landlord and the Tenant. In this article we aim to shed a little light on Landlord access rights which should help avoid those awkward moments and allow Landlords to ensure their investment is being looked after whilst also protecting the right of the Tenant to enjoy their home peacefully.
Right of access
As a Landlord you have the right to enter your property for things such as:
· Periodic inspections
· Make repairs as required
· Viewings for prospective tenants at the end of a tenancy
· To meet your responsibilities as a Landlord, e.g. safety inspections like the annual gas safety check
Carrying out repairs and safety checks to ensure the property is maintained in a suitable condition is a legal requirement for Landlords under the Homes (fitness for Human Habitation Act) 2018. Despite this a landlord cannot simply turn up whenever they want and insist on entry to the property.
The law is very clear that a minimum of 24 hours notice must be given to a Tenant of an inspection or a worker coming to make a repair. It is advisable to give as much notice as possible to a Tenant and to get their agreement as to the date and time of entry. This will make everyone’s life a lot easier and avoid any confusion or tension. It is also clear that the request should be made for access during reasonable hours. As such a Landlord or his agent cannot go round whenever they want after the 24 hour notice period has been given.
This is a very important aspect to understand. What is reasonable to you might not be reasonable to your Tenant. If your Tenant works night shifts then 9am would not be classed as a resonable time for requesting access as your Tenant has the right to get good quality sleep. Also requesting a visit for 9pm at night because that is convenient for you might not be reasonable to a Tenant who has to be up at 5am for work. If it is not an emergency then it is always advisable to come to an agreed time and date with the Tenant.
How to Give Notice
It is not uncommon for access notice to be given over the phone or via text or email. Ensure that you have agreement with your Tenant as to how notice should be given. If it is via a phone call it is always worth following this up with an email or text to ensure there are no misunderstandings. You should always inform the tenant of who will be visiting, for what reason and roughly how long they are likely to be there.
There are times when it would be dangerous to wait 24 hours to gain access or even gain permission to access the property. These are times of life threatening emergencies or where there is a real danger of severe damage being caused to the property. Such emergencies include:
3) Smell of gas
4) Structural damage requiring urgent attention
In these circumstances a Landlord has to right to gain immediate access to the property without permission from the Tenant.
Under the law the Tenant has the right to be allowed to enjoy their home in peace but a Landlord also has the right to enter the property to inspect or maintain the property. Although these seem in conflict with each other, by understanding the requirements it is relatively simple to comply with both aspects.
Help is at Hand
Being a landlord brings many rewards and responsibilities. If you prefer to focus on the rewards we can help to alleviate some of the responsibility. Find out how by viewing our range of Landlord Services here.