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View Full Version : Couple General Questions - Locks, and Landlord entering property



Mr. Private
13-10-2011, 11:51 AM
My first question:



"Permit the Landlord and or the Landlord’s Agent or others, after giving 24 hours written Notice and at reasonable hours of the daytime, to enter the Property:

… to show prospective purchasers the Property at all times during the Term and to erect a board to indicate that the Property is for sale."


This, to me, is not really acceptable behavior. Obviously a ‘good’ landlord and/or agent will talk with the tenant and come to a mutually agreed upon date to set up any viewings. However, my issue is this: the ‘fine print’ doesn’t mention any such ‘mutual agreement’, it literally just says, more-or-less, that anyone the landlord specifies can enter the property after giving 24 hours written notice within daytime.

So here it is to all you other landlords: While I bet that most of you would say “Oh, I would never be so rude as to just walk in 24 hours after giving you a notice!”, this landlord, at least, in particular is ensuring that he will have the right to do just that if he wants to!

Essentially it’s a funny matter: If you’re truly a kind and respectful human being, why not add the following into the contract: “ … after giving 24 hours written Notice AND COMING TO A MUTUAL AGREEMENT WITH THE TENANT, to enter the Property…”.

Why not add the common courtesy into the fine print if you will always abide by it anyways? The truth is, it’s your house, but not your home when you rent it out to others. Your tenant really shouldn’t have to plan around your life as well as their own. Yes, there has to be an amount of trust, but why not MAKE SURE that trust is required in the fine print? That ensures, to all parties, that their needs are met.

Second Question:



“Not change the locks (or install additional locks) to any doors in the Property”


Now, I’ve read numerous postings which seem to claim that a tenant ALWAYS has the right to change their own locks, at their own expense, whether or not they agreed not to.

Can someone please clarify this?, not just with their opinion, but with hard fact. In other words, please answer this question with a sited governmental source of some kind (a link would be great so we can all check it as well). I’m sure there must be some kind of law out there referring to exactly this, and yet no one seems able to link to it.

My issue with the landlord asking me not to change the locks is simply that I don’t believe it’s their right to request that of me. Theoretically speaking, a dishonest landlord (and there are PLENTY) could just walk into your apartment with his keys and take whatever he/she wanted. Unless you installed a camera in your flat, you would never be able to prove it.

This is, of course, (hopefully) unlikely. However, after renting many properties, I’ve come to the realization that it really doesn’t take a much to be a landlord. One would think a gauntlet of background checks, aptitude checks, and perhaps at least some business sense and/or good grasp of morality would be 100% required - but it’s not. A landlord could be the spoiled brat of your old landlord who just died and left the land to his idiotic son – point being: why, in god’s name, should I be stupid enough to just trust my landlord not to enter my home when I know he can?

It’s not like it would take him very long to determine when I’m usually out of my flat and for how long. Considering landlords mostly like to remain anonymous now days (hiding their address as the agents address) and not allowing direct communication with the tenant; it’s really hard to trust someone you’ve never seen, can’t talk to, and who requires they have a key to your private home, AND attempts to ensure (in the fine print) that they CAN enter your home.

To re-iterate, my question about changing the locks is this: Can someone please site a verifiable source regarding the law. I want to know if the tenant has the right to change the locks whether or not he/she agreed not to. If this can only be done under ‘special circumstances’, please specify those circumstance and/or link to the source that specifies them.

theartfullodger
13-10-2011, 12:16 PM
Suggest you read this thread, at top of the list of threads...
http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?26589-L-s-right-of-access-for-inspection-or-viewing

re lock changing, see this FAQ answer...

http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/FAQ/index.php?action=artikel&cat=2&id=73&artlang=en

- which includes this...


There is nothing in law which prevents the tenant changing the locks, except that you are entitled to have them returned back to normal when the tenant leaves, if you so wish.

tacpot
13-10-2011, 13:11 PM
There is an enevitable tension between the desire of the tenant to protect their possessions by having no keys in the possession of the agent and the landlord (I take your point about how do you trust someone you have never met and who hides their identity...), and the landlord/agent who may need access in an emergency and will always want to be sure that they can gain access to the property at the end of the tenancy without having to force this access if the tenant walks off with the keys.

If you change the locks, and don't give a key to the landlord/agent, you cannot expect them NOT send you the bill if they have to force access in an emergency (e.g. a neighbour reports water flowing from under the back door!), or if you fail to pass them the keys at the end of the tenancy.

In my experience it is vital for any contract to say what each party is actually happy to do. If you are not happy to do what the contract says, either force the contract to be changed or walk away. Don't accept a compromise that is not written down and is not clearly part of the contract.

The landlord will have to consider whether to take the risk that access will have to be forced and additional damage may occur in an emergency if access cannot be obtained promptly, if they agree to a change of contract.

Most won't because there are enough tenants in the market to avoid the risk. I would much prefer to have the tenant supply their own lock cylinders and keys. I can't be accused of Tresspass, or Theft or called at 3am because the tenant has lost their keys. It is also then clearly the tenant's responsibility to replace cylinders if they loose the keys.

I can't supply the legal reference you are looking for, but the following link is written by a Solicitor so I think it is trustworthy:

http://www.yell.com/solicitors/blog/are-tenants-allowed-to-change-the-locks/

This sets out the situation correctly as I understand it.

PaulF
13-10-2011, 13:53 PM
"Permit the Landlord and or the Landlord’s Agent or others, after giving 24 hours written Notice and at reasonable hours of the daytime, to enter the Property:

… to show prospective purchasers the Property at all times during the Term and to erect a board to indicate that the Property is for sale."
Whilst an AST might state the above which is perfectly legitimate, it still doesn't entitle entry by the landlord without the tenant's express permission. Many landlords think it entitles them to unfettered entry, and of course that breaches the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 conditions which is a criminal offence.

leaseholdanswers
13-10-2011, 15:14 PM
I always squirm when I read these posts as it displays as much about reasonable behaviour, or not, by the tenant as the landlord.

the reason the law does not simply say you can or cannot is because as with most things it depends on context.

the landlord has a contractual ( as per the quoted text) and as statutory right to to enter the property for repairs, on notice. That does not require your express permission, however you can expressly refuse it. The law supports that, as posted. Even if notice is given and you are silent on the matter, or even agree, that does not prevent you from taking issue with the access, by refusing future access, or taking action for harassment.

Your right to change the locks does not in fact exist in and of itself, but a right to do so, even if the tenancy states that you cannot, can be upheld in court based on the circumstances. The law further provides other remedies for that too. While a tenancy may not specifically refer to keys, it is a rare document that does not make a broad reference to alterations to the property and furnishings.

That you earlier landlord was a nosy unpleasant individual does not mean that your current landlord will be .Ordinarily in the vast majority of tenancies these arrangements are honoured with no issue by either party. And when renting a home as much as you expect privacy, you have to expect some degree of access.

That said I too would be unhappy about the clause; I might be tempted to ask the basis of access as, as drafted, it could allow them to drop in for a toilet break or a sit down. It would be entirely reasonable for this to be qualified for purposes of inspection as to the conduct of the tenancy and repairs an emergency or similar grounds. You could suggest 48 hours written notice, but concede access for genuine emergencies, and 24 hours notice in the last month re viewings ( and exclude Sundays and public holidays perhaps)

westminster
14-10-2011, 10:32 AM
If you’re truly a kind and respectful human being, why not add the following into the contract: “ … after giving 24 hours written Notice AND COMING TO A MUTUAL AGREEMENT WITH THE TENANT, to enter the Property…”.

Why not add the common courtesy into the fine print if you will always abide by it anyways?
If you're not happy with the terms of a tenancy contract, why not negotiate different terms with the landlord before signing it?

tacpot
14-10-2011, 12:56 PM
I suspect that the LA will say that it is not possible to amend the terms of their standard agreement....

OceanView
14-10-2011, 13:25 PM
I suspect that the LA will say that it is not possible to amend the terms of their standard agreement....

That is exactly what they'll say. It's best to just accept the term in the contract and change the locks as there's little they can do about it anyway without a court order. It will save you from having letting agents from helping themselves in unannounced for viewings at the ending of the tenancy. Reputable ones *might* not do this, but we all know...

leaseholdanswers
14-10-2011, 15:26 PM
That is silly suggestion; in our case the tenant would irrespective of costs find themselves in hot water very quickly regardless of costs. But then we do not go snooping around and got to great lengths to arrange access. It can be is a sensible reaction to actual or threatened act by the landlord or their agents.

Far easier to fit a stand alone alarm or a web cam on the laptop so that if access is taken without notice or unreasonably you have the proof, rather than suspicion, that some one has been in.