Tenant Changed Locks – My tenant is 3 months into an assured shorthold tenancy. I requested access to the flat to do an inspection but my tenant has refused point blank. I now find he has also changed the locks. Can he do this? What can I do about it?
If your tenant decides to bar your entry to the property there is nothing you can do about it. If you persist in trying you could be accused of harassment, which is a criminal offence – not worth the risk.
The only time you could in theory gain access in this situation would be if there is a dire emergency – fire, gas leaks etc.
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.
To gain access for essential maintenance or for any other reason you should give your tenant/s at least 24 hours notice and ask their permission.
Most tenants are happy to give this but some may insist they are present when you have access. This can sometimes cause problems with timing especially if they are working. Fixing up times with workmen and tenants can them become troublesome, but you must comply.
If your tenant refuses access for essential annual gas checks this can be a real problem. Again, you should not persist to the point of harassment. Do your best to persuade, but after that you should put your requests in writing.
To cover yourself legally, send copies of letters to: (1) your local authority Environmental Health Officer or Rent Relations Officer, and (2) The Health & Safety Executive.
©LandlordZONE All Rights Reserved – never rely totally on these standard answers. Before taking action or not, always do your own research and/or seek professional advice with the full facts of the case and all documents to hand.