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akristiansson
24-09-2011, 10:08 AM
Hello,

I am Swedish so not overly familiar with English law. I have just become a Director of a small regional English residential letting agency.

I am concerned that this letting agency has been sending out letters to tenants stating "We need to do a 6-monthly inspection on your home on behalf of the landlord. We would like to attend on [date]. If we do not hear from you, we will assume that you are in agreement and we will let ourselves in with the management key".

A concerned tenant, who lives with his dog, has written to me, stating that this letter is unlawful. The tenant claims that his dog would become upset if a stranger entered his home when he was not there, and that he has always strictly forbade the letting agency to enter the premises without his presence. He has now gone on to forbid the letting agency whatsoever.

Please could someone with a good knowledge of English law answer the following:

1. As it is the tenant's home and the tenant has possession, surely it is within the tenant's rights not to allow the letting agency in at all if he so wishes?

2. Whilst the letting agency can seek the tenant's permission to enter for an inspection, surely the tenant can always withhold it indefinitely?

3. Is it correct that the only way the letting agency could enter the premises if the tenant continued to deny them access would be through obtaining a Possession Order via the Court?

4. Is it an offence to enter the premises without the tenant's written consent?

thank you for all your help!

Aron

islandgirl
24-09-2011, 10:21 AM
here we go again - just search this site for what you need and you will find a ton of info much of it given by experts.
The generally agreed position is that it is NOT acceptable for anyone to enter a tenanted property without permission. The tenant can withhold permission. You could go to court to force entry but Possession would be a better option usually.

theartfullodger
24-09-2011, 10:33 AM
Landlord can enter - with a court order. You a) May not get one for and b) should have to wait months to get one..

Suggest you get educated on Landlord/Tenant law, and send all your staff on courses... That you are asking the question would worry me were I a director...

It can be an offence to enter without permission & you could end up in prison if you did (unlikely, but are you a gambling person??)

LesleyAnne
24-09-2011, 11:47 AM
With respect, how can you become "Director" of a letting agency, without even knowing UK lettings law. Oh sorry, I forgot, letting agents need no experience or qualifications. Blind leading the blind here me thinks.

Sorry to be so blunt. Yes, these letters are unlawful. I am surprised this is the only complaint your company has received. No-one has automatic right of access to anyone's home - you can even refuse the police access unless they have a valid warrant! Get yourself and your staff educated and trained asap. Atleast we should be thankful you have stumbled across this site and asked, but this is just to tip of the iceberg where letting law is concerned. Relying on a free public forum to ask this type of question is a receipe for disaster - if you want this letting agent company to become a success, you need to do a lot more than ask us!

theartfullodger
24-09-2011, 12:33 PM
Oh, and welcome to Landlordzone

45002
24-09-2011, 13:29 PM
Landlord can enter - with a court order. You a) May not get one for and b) should have to wait months to get one..

Suggest you get educated on Landlord/Tenant law, and send all your staff on courses... That you are asking the question would worry me were I a director...

It can be an offence to enter without permission & you could end up in prison if you did (unlikely, but are you a gambling person??)

What Court in GB is going to grant a injunction to a LL,just because the T wont let the LL in.

Only option would be a possession order and only after the correct notices and so on have been served on the T.

Lawcruncher
24-09-2011, 14:15 PM
You can find the position analysed in detail here (http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?26589-L-s-right-of-access-for-inspection-or-viewing).

Whether my conclusions are correct is open to debate. What can be said is that there is no right of entry unless it is reserved by the tenancy agreement, though note that certain rights are implied into an agreement by statute. Unauthorised entry is only a crime if it amounts to harassment or is calculated to induce the tenant to leave or give up some right.

Whatever the law may be, it is always wise for a landlord/agent to satisfy himself that the tenant does not object to entry. You cannot rely on an "if we do not hear we shall assume" formula. Far better to say something like this:

"We need to do a 6-monthly inspection on your home on behalf of the landlord. We would like to attend on [date] at [time]. Please contact us to let us know if this is convenient and, if it is not, to arrange an alternative date and time."

leaseholdanswers
25-09-2011, 09:25 AM
The only thing that I would add to Lawcruncher's excellent summary is

1: Refer to the tenancy clause allowing access, and state the purpose clearly.

2: If you intend to use landlords keys, say so.

3: Be sure that the notice you send is going to be received in good time and don't rely on one single method where more are available. Unless its an emergency most inspections/ gas checks etc can be planned & notified well in advance.

And a good investment in any home is a simple safe to put their mind at rest over valuables going missing.

leaseholdanswers
25-09-2011, 10:30 AM
You can find the position analysed in detail here (http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?26589-L-s-right-of-access-for-inspection-or-viewing).


If Lawcruncher agrees* can the Mod attach a sticky to this?

*Best after the Siesta perhaps :)

Lawcruncher
25-09-2011, 11:07 AM
He agrees.

Moderator2
25-09-2011, 11:36 AM
OK, I’m not a fan of lots of sticky threads, but then we don’t have lots.

As a discussion that comes up quite regularly it seems appropriate to make a sticky, but will making it a sticky cause readers to view it as a definitive answer?

Lawcruncher
25-09-2011, 12:36 PM
...will making it a sticky cause readers to view it as a definitive answer?

A good point.

Moderator2
25-09-2011, 12:52 PM
Should you wish I can edit post #1 for you.

Lawcruncher
25-09-2011, 16:00 PM
Thank you.

Please insert at the beginning:

What follows is my analysis of the position. It should not be treated as gospel.

While you are at it could you please make the correction as shown in post 5 and then delete that post?

leaseholdanswers
25-09-2011, 19:06 PM
Thank you.

Please insert at the beginning:

What follows is my analysis of the position. It should not be treated as gospel.



While you are at it could you please make the correction as shown in post 5 and then delete that post?

May I suggest rather than position, use it is an analysis of the broad principles which could to be applied to the particular circumstances of each instance, on which paid advice should be taken.

With the link to the advice from Shelter?

sparkie
26-09-2011, 06:16 AM
On individual tenancies, the LL would have little problem accessing the property to inspect the common areas. A minimum 24 hour notice would normally be required, although more notice would be better.

To inspect the bedrooms as well, I normally just communicate that this is a routine annual inspection and give them at least a weeks advance notice, with a date and time. If inconvenient to inform of a more suitable date.

Usually, I get no problems at all.

On those with joint tenancies or where the property is let entirely to the tenant, it seems the rate of decline for entry is higher as T's have rights to the entire property so the LL/LA are stopped at the front door, so to speak.

However in both instances, if LL's/LA's rights of entry are outlined clearly in the TA and the requests are not unreasonable with plenty of advance notice given then very few problems should arise. Unless of course you have very difficult T's, or professional T's who abuse the system.

theartfullodger
26-09-2011, 08:49 AM
Maybe a link to some relevant legislation?? (complete with typo..)

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1985/70/section/8


(2)The landlord, or a person authorised by him in writing, may at reasonable tinmes of the day, on giving 24 hours’ notice in writing to the tenant or occupier, enter premises to which this section applies for the purpose of viewing their state and condition.


My understanding (I am but a simple, confused and old toiler-in-the-field, not some legal expert..) this means written, not email, not 'phone message, not TXT, not shouted through letter-box but WRITTEN.

Note also "view state and condition" of premises, not so you can check up on T & complain about T keeping coal in't bath, curtains drawn, sink full of dirty dishes,.. (you can complain about those also, clearly.. )

Also a link from the wonderful Mssrs Shelter..
http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/repairs_and_bad_conditions/disrepair_in_rented_accommodation#3


Tenants general obligations

The tenant has certain responsibilities when it comes to maintaining rented accommodation. Generally these depend on what the tenancy agreement says. However, the landlord cannot make the tenant responsible, or charge for repairs that are the landlord’s responsibility.

The tenant’s other obligations include:

keeping the property in good repair
maintaining any electrical goods they own
giving access to the landlord to carry out repairs.





Cheers!

Artful

sparkie
26-09-2011, 09:20 AM
Maybe a link to some relevant legislation?? (complete with typo..)

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1985/70/section/8


My understanding (I am but a simple, confused and old toiler-in-the-field, not some legal expert..) this means written, not email, not 'phone message, not TXT, not shouted through letter-box but WRITTEN.

Note also "view state and condition" of premises, not so you can check up on T & complain about T keeping coal in't bath, curtains drawn, sink full of dirty dishes,.. (you can complain about those also, clearly.. )

Surely emails would be acceptable, esp in this day and age. It is a form of written communication. And deposit disputes eg. My|Deposits accept emails as evidence. I see no problem with this esp if the T's reply by return email. There is a communication trail that can be audited and verified.

theartfullodger
26-09-2011, 09:30 AM
I believe there was a recent case (not to do with inspections..) where emails were held OK but, question is, would you want to expose yourself to legal action (eg harassment) by not sending a simple letter, (keep copy)?? Devious tenants looking for a fight and in receipt of legal aid are out there, I assume you've never had the pleasure of meeting one ... ;-)

sparkie
26-09-2011, 09:54 AM
You have a point. If by post then you would have to send be recorded delivery.

But for me I personally would and do send emails. And ask the T to confirm all ok by "return email". Always had confirmation this way. emails are fast and the least hassle. It's cheaper than snail mail, doesn't get lost and if it does there usually a failed delivery message to notify me it 'didn't get through'.

Worse case if a T didn't reply then I'd shoot a letter by post, recorded/signed for.

leaseholdanswers
26-09-2011, 12:55 PM
You have a point. If by post then you would have to send be recorded delivery.

But for me I personally would and do send emails. And ask the T to confirm all ok by "return email". Always had confirmation this way. emails are fast and the least hassle. It's cheaper than snail mail, doesn't get lost and if it does there usually a failed delivery message to notify me it 'didn't get through'.

Worse case if a T didn't reply then I'd shoot a letter by post, recorded/signed for.

Well if you think back there have been people here who argue that while they have happily correspond by email they suddenly insist on a letter. Others have said that if its urgent who sends a letter? or " I leave all that to the weekend". I recall one resident who was most irked that " I had not sent the signed tenancy" when we met in lobby by chance. I went to her post box and there it was for the last five days with a weeks worth of mail stuffed in it- Reply -I am a very busy person.

So we are in a situation that there is now more than one established form of communication and plenty of opinion. Except in emergencies most things can be planned well in advance and a letter and email sent in good time.

tyneview
26-09-2011, 20:01 PM
As long as it stipulates in the tenancy agreement and you have given 24hrs notice you can lawfully enter the property without the tenant being present.

jta
26-09-2011, 20:03 PM
As long as it stipulates in the tenancy agreement and you have given 24hrs notice you can lawfully enter the property without the tenant being present.

I suggest you do a lot more reading before you jump in with such positive statements.

Welcome to the forum.

LesleyAnne
26-09-2011, 20:35 PM
As long as it stipulates in the tenancy agreement and you have given 24hrs notice you can lawfully enter the property without the tenant being present.

3 posts and you are an expert already!!!! Pity you are wrong though :=-:

Lawcruncher
26-09-2011, 21:04 PM
3 posts and you are an expert already!!!! Pity you are wrong though :=-:

But is he? If the tenancy agreement grants permission to enter how can the entry be unlawful when no law forbids it?

islandgirl
26-09-2011, 21:19 PM
here we go again! Anyone else got a strong sense of deja-vu???

45002
26-09-2011, 22:50 PM
But is he? If the tenancy agreement grants permission to enter how can the entry be unlawful when no law forbids it?

Lawcruncher,why dont you bring a test case in the High Court !

Then when the Judge throws out the case,because there nothing in law to in-force a LL a right of entry to a Tenant home when they refused,your end up with a Huge legal Bill..................

Lawcruncher
27-09-2011, 08:36 AM
I repeat the question: If the tenancy agreement grants permission to enter how can the entry be unlawful when no law forbids it?

theartfullodger
27-09-2011, 08:40 AM
Agree with LC (unless T has written refusing, clearly...).

I used to have a clause granting permission for inspections on (something like..) 2nd Thursday of every month between 10:00 & 12:00 and suspect that should stand up..

LesleyAnne
27-09-2011, 08:48 AM
I am not a legal expert, but I am fairly sure that in this country, you can even refuse access by the police unless they have a valid warrant, or reason to believe criminal activity is taking place on the premises. If a tenant/owner has a legal right to refuse them access, then how does a clause in a tenancy agreement give a LL access?

I agree many, if not most, TAs include clauses about LL right to enter, but this does not grant carte blanche access by the LL at any time or as frequently as they like. They should always ask the tenant's approval, and tenant has a right to refuse. OP's question was "can LL/agent enter if tenant forbids us" and in answer to that question I would say "NO".

jjlandlord
27-09-2011, 09:04 AM
If a tenant/owner has a legal right to refuse them access, then how does a clause in a tenancy agreement give a LL access?

What I gather:
If LL enters without T's permission he is trespassing, which is actually not a crime (learned that recently).
If tenancy agreement gives LL permission right to enter, then he cannot be trespassing if he does.


Agree with LC (unless T has written refusing, clearly...).

But if permission to enter is granted in tenancy agreement, is T entitled to later refuse, be it in writing or otherwise?

theartfullodger
27-09-2011, 09:31 AM
What I gather:
If LL enters without T's permission he is trespassing, which is actually not a crime (learned that recently).
If tenancy agreement gives LL permission right to enter, then he cannot be trespassing if he does.



But if permission to enter is granted in tenancy agreement, is T entitled to later refuse, be it in writing or otherwise?

Trespassing yes, but I suspect the big danger is PfEa 1977
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1977/43/section/1



(3A)Subject to subsection (3B) below, the landlord of a residential occupier or an agent of the landlord shall be guilty of an offence if—
(a)he does acts likely to interfere with the peace or comfort of the residential occupier or members of his household, or
(b)he persistently withdraws or withholds services reasonably required for the occupation of the premises in question as a residence,and (in either case) he knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, that that conduct is likely to cause the residential occupier to give up the occupation of the whole or part of the premises or to refrain from exercising any right or pursuing any remedy in respect of the whole or part of the premises.


And if T refuses I'd understood there are two competing claims and LL is v strongly advised not to enter unless with court order..

45002
27-09-2011, 13:11 PM
Anyone can knock up a tenancy agreement using word and be meaningless when a solicitor or barrister tears it apart in court..........

Lawcruncher
27-09-2011, 17:35 PM
Anyone can knock up a tenancy agreement using word and be meaningless when a solicitor or barrister tears it apart in court..........

True.

The question still remains: If in a tenancy agreement a tenant agrees that the landlord may enter for a specific purpose what is the authority for saying that that agreement is unenforceable?

45002
27-09-2011, 18:21 PM
Lets put it this way

Tenants and landlords both have the right to Privacy.

Tenant refuses permission to LL and ES,LL and ES take No notice of T and let them selves in while T is out and have a good nose around in T home.

Would a LL or EA be happy to let a tenant/stranger nosing around there Home while there out,would LL or EA give sets of keys to Tenants !

LL rent a home to T,LL must respect T right to refuse Entry to there home.

45002
27-09-2011, 19:24 PM
OK

My tenancy is Regulated by 1977 rent act,I have refused to sign any tenancy agreement and im on my 3rd LL.

Some years ago,I found my original LL sitting on my bed,reading a book of mine after I came back from shopping,when I channelled him he said it's my bloody house,I can do what I like if you dont like it you can get out,I told him to get out of my home.

I was so mad I contacted the police and they adversed me to contact my local council as the police said,there not much they could do,unless a LL stole or damaged T belongings.

The private tenancy department of my local council came to see me,as I still was some what upset at my LL actions.

They advised me to change the locks,which I did they also wrote to my LL and gave him a official warning via councils solicitor.

The official warning contained,it is a criminal offence to threat a T with illegal eviction,LL had breach my right to privacy,as LL had no automatic right of entry to T home.

My old LL wrote back saying there a TA and so on,saying LL could go in with 24hrs notice.

As I said I refused to sign any TA,Council solicitor wrote back to old LL informing him even if T had signed TA,T can still refuse entry to LL and it would be unenforceable in law,if LL went to court to enforce his rights as it would breach a T rights to privacy,regardless of the type of Tenancy.

When old LL sold up,I sort legal advice from a solicitor about my rights during and after the sale and showed them the letters from Council solicitors.

They said same thing,if a T had signed TA giving LL right to enter after 24 hrs notice,it would be unenforceable in law as it would breach T rights to privacy on any type of Tenancy.

There further advised me,there nothing in law for a LL to enforce there right of entry to T home,during a tenancy..

Only way a LL could enforce entry to T home,to break in! or bring a test case in the high court !

I refused to show EA around and buyers around my home during the sale,the sale took 2 years 45% was knocked off the sale price.

Just to point out I always co operated with my all LL's gas/electric and fire inspection with at least 48 hours notice and a time convent to me,I pay my rent on time and the only spare set of keys to my home are with my next of kin...

Lawcruncher
27-09-2011, 19:45 PM
Lets put it this way

Tenants and landlords both have the right to Privacy.

Tenant refuses permission to LL and ES,LL and ES take No notice of T and let them selves in while T is out and have a good nose around in T home.

Would a LL or EA be happy to let a tenant/stranger nosing around there Home while there out,would LL or EA give sets of keys to Tenants !

LL rent a home to T,LL must respect T right to refuse Entry to there home.

Of course a tenant is entitled to his privacy and any rights of access must be exercised reasonably, but you are missing the point which is that a tenant agrees to allow access.

Perhaps I can make my point by asking if there is any qualitative difference between:

1. A tenant signing an agreement saying the landlord can have access on 24 hours notice.

2. A tenant signing an agreement saying the landlord can have access on a specified date in the future.

3. A tenant agreeing on Monday that the landlord can have access on Wednesday.

Lawcruncher
27-09-2011, 20:15 PM
OK etc

First, there is no doubt that landlords only have a right of access for the purposes set out in the tenancy agreement (and do not forget that some are implied by law).

At the expense of repeating what is in the long thread now a sticky, there are the following possibilities:

1. You have a right but the manner in which the right can be exercised is circumscribed by law. The right to forfeit tenancies comes into this category.

2. You can apply to the court for a right but until the court grants it to you do not have it. A right under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act comes into this category.

3. You have a right which you are entitled to exercise without the permission of the court. A right of way comes into this category.

A landlord's right of entry must come into category 3 because, apart from anything else, such rights are granted by statute and because there is no statute which specifically circumscribes the right, although the Protection from Eviction Act may come into play.

My main purpose in questioning what appears to be accepted by many is not to give comfort to landlords (I am on record as saying that it is unwise for a landlord to enter when a tenant objects) but rather to make it clear to tenants that, until the courts declare otherwise, they should not assume they can refuse entry with impunity.

45002
27-09-2011, 20:35 PM
Yes your Right,your posts are far too long http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?26589-L-s-right-of-access-for-inspection-or-viewing&p=196682#post196682

and

http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?26589-L-s-right-of-access-for-inspection-or-viewing&p=196683#post196683

And Are only your opinion.................

I beg to differ with point 1,especially with AT,SAT,RT and secure council and housing association tenants.

Point 2 and point 3,would only be confirmed or not,via a channelled in the High Court.

And this is my opinion,referring to written and verbal advice I had from 2 different solicitors.

Think we Both said enough on this now :(nod):

Good night...................