Repairs Access– I have a tenant who will not allow workmen access to the property for repairs. I have notified the tenant by telephone and in writing giving at least 48 hours notice, but the engineer attends to find there’s no access. This is costing me money in call-out charges. What can I do?
This can be a real problem for landlords, especially if the access is required to do gas checks, which is a legal requirement on the landlord.
However, landlords or their agents do have a legal right to enter the property to carry out necessary maintenance and repairs.
Of course the tenant must be given sufficient notice of required access at reasonable times to suit both parties, and the tenant has the right to be present when the work is done, but the tenant cannot legally refuse entry.
The landlord could charge the tenant for the costs involved in missed appointments, if this is stated in the agreement, which it should be, but that’s a matter of judgement on the landlord’s part.
Regardless of whether your agreement says anything about access, Section 16 of the Housing Act 1988 – Access for repairs – states that:
“It shall be an implied term of every assured tenancy that the tenant shall afford to the landlord access to the dwelling-house let on the tenancy and all reasonable facilities for executing therein any repairs which the landlord is entitled to execute.”
Where the tenant refuses he is in breach of contract and the landlord can apply for a possession order using a Section 8 notice (Housing Act 1988) under Ground 12, which states:
“Any obligation of the tenancy (other than one related to the payment of rent) has been broken or not performed.”
This is a discretionary ground (the judge can decide whether a possession order is appropriate) so:
- You need very good evidence that this is a persistent problem
- You cannot guarantee getting possession
- The tenant may counter claim with spurious accusations against you, the landlord.
Counter claims when using the section 8 procedure can be a danger to landlords – they can result in the landlord paying the tenant’s legal costs if they lose. A far safer option is using the mandatory section 21 route.
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