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View Full Version : maintenance guy let himself in, are they allowed??



Shelly24
05-12-2011, 06:47 AM
hi everyone,
my boyfriend and i rent a flat through an agency and have been in our flat since 16th September. When we moved in we reported the shower had gone rusty and wasnt working properly. We didnt hear anything for a few days and sick of washing under a trickle my partner took it all apart and soaked it in bicarbonate of soda which did the trick. We heard nothing more from the letting agent on this matter.

Now bare in mind we both work nights and the agents are aware of this...
On Friday (10 weeks later!) I was in bed asleep, my partner was out and I was awoken by the sound of a key in the door, I sat up thinking it was my partner returning..I then hear someone unfamiliar shouting 'hello?' so I lept up and opened the bedroom door only to find a strange man in my hallway! At this point I thought I was being burgled or raided or something!! so I had very little on clothes-wise and was quite scared.
The man in the hallway said he had come to fix the shower! Now being all confused and tired I told him it doesnt need fixing, that was 10 weeks ago and can he leave please. He went but said that I shouldnt be confused because someone aparently rang me last weds to tell me he was coming?!?!
I went back to sleep and tried to make sense on this when I woke back up.
I have had no calls on my phone, I have had no letters, the agents are aware I work nights yet they have aparently given permission for a strange (out of uniform) man to come into my flat with his own kep during the day!!
Are they allowed to do this?? I thought it was only for emergencys they can come in with their own key without notice.
What should i do now?
thanks

Ericthelobster
05-12-2011, 07:40 AM
Are they allowed to do this?? I thought it was only for emergencys they can come in with their own key without notice.
What should i do now?In a word - no they aren't. You are well within your rights to put a rocket up the agent for this, and to make it 100% clear it is unacceptable for someone to enter the property without your express permission. Put it in writing too.

You could legally change the locks too, provided you put the originals back when you quit.

Shelly24
05-12-2011, 08:15 AM
Thanks, are we allowed to change the lock even if it says we cant in our contract?

Darth Wookie
05-12-2011, 09:04 AM
I'd be more concerned with the agent/landlord having their own key in the first place. Ericthelobster is right in advising you to give hell to the agent for this. it's not uncommon for tenants to change the lock, as long as it is replaced at the termination of the tenancy. If the LL mutters about contract, remind them about the right of quiet enjoyment, clearly breached by a maintenance chap turning up ten weeks late.

LesleyAnne
05-12-2011, 09:04 AM
Thanks, are we allowed to change the lock even if it says we cant in our contract?

If you think the agents or landlord might do this again, yes you are perfectly within your rights to change the locks whilst you have a valid tenancy agreement, so long as you replace the originals when you move out. LL/Agent will not like it much, but legally it is your home, you do not know who else may have a key (previous tenant etc), so you have every right to protect your property and possessions.

jjlandlord
05-12-2011, 09:10 AM
I would not change the locks because a handyman let himself in once to do his job when the contract prohibits you from doing that.
Write a letter that you think this is unacceptable and that you expect notice.
Then, if it does happen again at least you can show that you breaching the contract is a consequence of the other party unreasonable behaviour.

Mars Mug
05-12-2011, 11:14 AM
Theft of property where there are no signs of forced entry can mean no insurance cover, and the tenant is entirely reliant on the landlord / agency checks on the person entering, can you be sure they are trustworthy? What if the person entering passes on the key or a copy to a friend who will empty the place at a later date? I would change the locks.

leaseholdanswers
05-12-2011, 14:39 PM
I am sure you got a fright but don't over react and change the lock. Access to the property means that repairs are done quickly and with the minimum of inconvenience.

However as posted above do issue rocket to the agent, even a strong WTF!

Remind them of your contact details and to give notice, or locks will be changed as suggested above.

It may just be the contractor is lazy,or as our handy man will do might be able to drop in on the off chance ( other job cancelled or finished early), thinking it was helpful, or someone forget and paniced.

Make it clear to them, first and last time.

Helpful hint; you can always add a lock, and leave it off if you know someone is coming.

thesaint
05-12-2011, 14:51 PM
Quite a lot of incorrect information handed out in this thread without knowing the full details. Shocking really.

LesleyAnne
05-12-2011, 15:24 PM
Quite a lot of incorrect information handed out in this thread without knowing the full details. Shocking really.

Specifically?

leaseholdanswers
05-12-2011, 16:01 PM
Specifically?

I just glanced at this thread and I am not sure what the issue is either.

What grabbed me is that I read #1 , but my brain registered 10 days delay.

I see it was in fact 10 weeks... I think an urgent formal investigation and response by the Agent is required here, I can think of very few instances where this is not either a monumental mistake or skulduggery.

I would want an unequivocal explanation and assurance.

Renting requires a little trust but leaving a laptop and webcam running on a free webcam service or buying a hidden camera may reassure/protect you. It's certainly fun if a tradesman does come on notice and to see what they do. :)

And buy a burglar chain for the door.

Rebecca12
05-12-2011, 21:37 PM
I would raise my concerns in writing and request reassurance from the agent this will not happen again. Camera's?? Isn't that just a tad extreme?

I also think changing the lock is a bit knee jerk... Tenants need the landlords permission before they make any changes to the property.

However, the agent/contractor are in the wrong for entering your home without permission and should be told in no uncertain terms this is unacceptable

LesleyAnne
05-12-2011, 22:30 PM
Tenants need the landlords permission before they make any changes to the property.


Whilst I agree in these circumstances, OP should write to request this situation never happens again, tenant does not need permission to change locks! This has been discussed here many times, and whilst TA may specifically state locks should not be changed, legally, tenant can do this whilst they have a valid tenancy agreement, so long as they return them to the original, or give the LL a key, when tenancy ends.

The only downside of changing the locks, is it may prompt an S21 notice to follow, but assuming tenant is doing everything else in accordance with their TA, pays rent on time, looks after the property and tries their best to accommodate LL/LA inspection and repair visits, then I think it would be a very short-sighted LL to issue an S21 notice on any otherwise excellent tenant, just because they have exercised their right to secure their home, property and family.