Can a landlord access a property without permission?13-10-2022 | Property Access
You won’t be very popular with your tenants if you enter your buy-to-let property without their permission. Not only will you effectively be disturbing your tenants’ quiet enjoyment of the space they have rented from you, but you’ll be entering illegally.
Knowing where your rights over accessing the property start and finish is key when you step into the role of becoming a landlord. Even if you’ve employed a property management company to represent your multiple properties, they will have to adhere to the same regulations with regards to entering a property.
Do I need permission to enter my buy-to-let property?
Yes, you do. The Housing Act 1988 requires landlords to notify tenants that they will need access to the property in writing with at least 24 hours notice. In addition to this, the tenant must give their consent to the landlord entering. Only then is access legally allowed.
When signing an assured shorthold tenancy agreement (AST), your tenants are agreeing to terms and conditions which effectively protect your property from financial arrears, damage and anti-social behaviour. In return, your AST should not be loaded up in a way that takes the rights of your tenants away.
Tenants have a right to quiet enjoyment of the property. This means that as a landlord you do not have the right to enter and use the premises without consent or notice. The law states that all landlords, electricians, housing management, decorators etc must adhere to the 24-hour notice rule. An email or text message will suffice as long as the tenant has consented in writing as well.
With this in mind, any clauses in your AST which challenge the right to quiet enjoyment are in fact unenforceable.
Landlord access rights and tenancy agreements
Whether you’re needing to show round new tenants or doing your routine property check-up, know your rights over property access and keep your relationship with your tenants a positive one.
Gaining access for maintenance and repair
Of course, as a landlord you’ll be needing to access to property for a number of things such as
- Gas safety checks – This safety check should be carried out annually.
- Electrical safety condition report – This report needs to be carried out every five years.
- Energy performance assessment – This should be taken every ten years.
- Fire assessment regular check ups – This should be checked every six months. You’ll be looking for
- Clear fire escape routes in and around the property and near exits.
- Correctly stored flammable liquids. I.e no oil or bleach stored near the boiler or fuse box.
- Any new furniture brought in by the tenants has a European or British standard fire safety label.
- Maintenance of appliances, electrical products, white goods and kitchen equipment
- Sorting out fair wear and tear of furnished belongings
- Checking for water damage
- Assessing any malicious damage such as
Having good communication with your tenants is key
If you’re an established landlord with multiple properties, you’ll understand the imperative nature of keeping an eye on your property and staying on your tenants’ side. After all, good tenant retention equals no costs trying to fill the tenancy again. Clear and organised visits are key to making sure you have an understanding of how your property is being maintained.
Much like any of us, people need notice to keep the property tidy for the whole week if you’re expecting viewings. Having an understanding of your tenants work life balance will enable you to find suitable times that work for both parties.
Suspecting malicious damage in your property
If you suspect any malicious damage to the property after one of your property visits, you may wish to consult your landlord’s building and/or contents insurance. Before you embark on a tenancy, get your policy in order with CIA. Request a call back today.
What do I do if my tenant won’t let me access the property?
You may find that some tenants are not quick on the uptake of responding to messages. This can be particularly problematic when a tenancy is coming to an end and you are trying to show new tenants the property.
If you have reached out to the tenant multiple times via text message or email or even letter (which may delay response time further), we suggest you make it clear to your tenant where their liability lies should they not respond.
Make it clear that any gas, electrical or fire assessments are for their own safety. You can write into your ATS that the tenant is liable to pay for cancelled appointments. Similarly, the tenancy agreement should state that if the landlord is unable to conduct maintenance due to no response, the tenant is liable for fault should further more serious damage or injury occur. It may also be worth mentioning that you won’t be considering them for a tenancy renewal as they are in breach of the agreement.
Can I enter my buy-to-let property in an emergency?
You’ll be relieved to know that there are certain circumstances where you absolutely can enter your rented property. They are;
- Water flowing from or in the building.
- A fire in the property (Evacuating every person and calling the fire department is recommended in this situation.)
- Obvious structural damage that could cause immediate injury or further damage.
- A suspected gas leak
- Any criminal behaviour that is suspected or reported by a neighbour. (Contacting the police is strongly advised before you enter the property)
- If there is serious concern for any of the tenants well-being such as abuse and violence.
In the case of damage being untreated, you’ll want to know you have a secure landlord insurance policy behind you to give you peace of mind. Get in touch with us at CIA, today and request a call back.
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