Here is a question to the blog clinic from Karen (not her real name) who is a tenant
Please can you assist us with a problem we are having with our landlord. We are four sharers including two girls, we all pay our rent separately and some pay more promptly than others.
Our landlord often comes to the house unannounced to chase up late rent and on one occasion banged on bedroom doors first thing in the morning when people were still asleep. He also sends contractors with keys to let themselves in. I am one of the two girls and I am uncomfortable with strangers just walking into the house if I am on my own.
We have tried asking the landlord to give us more notice but he said it is his house and he can do what he likes. It is making us all unhappy but none of us are in a position where we can just leave and live somewhere else.
Is there anything we can do to make this stop? We have thought about changing the locks but we don’t know whether this will make things worse.
To a large extent it depends on whether you are all joint or individual tenants. I know you say you all pay separately but did you actually sign your own separate tenancy agreements? This is a pretty fundamental point and affects the legal rights that you have.
If you all signed the same tenancy agreement then your landlord is definitely out of order. You should contact your local authority tenancy relations officer who should write to your landlord on your behalf.
Entering a property without the tenants consent is a criminal offence AND can entitle you to claim compensation through the courts.
If you have all signed separate tenancy agreements then it is a bit different as you only have ‘exclusive occupation’ of your own rooms and cannot exclude the landlord entirely from the common parts, as you can if you all signed the one agreement for the whole property.
Even so, if he is banging on your bedroom doors in the early morning, that sounds like harassment to me. Again your Local Authority TRO may be able to help. It may be the landlords house but it is subject to tenancies to you.
So far as changing the locks are concerned, if you all signed the same tenancy agreement, then this might be allowable in these circumstances. However I don’t think you can do this otherwise.