I live in a rental property with 3 others. Our landlord is continually requiring access to the property but will not give us a specific time or day.
He is something of a night owl himself and so comes at anti-social hours. He came to re-tile the bathroom and stayed until 1am making noise after we had all gone to bed.
He does not give us adequate notice of what the maintenance will entail, e.g, we were unable to use the shower and then the washing machine without warning which left some of us caught out.
Our lead tenant has emailed him to say that we require him to complete any maintenance by 6pm and to let us know when he will be coming. He has since come over (without notice) one day at 4pm and stayed until 10.30pm, conducting work that created loud whooping noises through the house about every 30seconds from 8pm onwards.
This required access to all our bedrooms and he refused to leave until we essentially ordered him out of the house so we could go to bed and all got into quite a shouting match with him. One housemate refused him entry to her room as she had to pack for a business trip the next day but he ordered her out.
He said they had found an unexpected fault with the smoke alarms which caused the work to take longer then expected and so he could not leave until he was sure it had been made safe. I feel that had he given us notice and begun the work earlier this would not have been a problem.
Following this we received an email saying he would come the next day to finish work on the smoke detectors. He did not show up.
We then received an email stating that he would require access “at any time” the next day, the weekend and “possibly longer.” The lead tenant emailed him to say this was not acceptable to us. He came anyway, my housemate tried to refuse him entry but he pushed past him into the house.
He said that because the maintenance he needed to conduct involved the smoke detectors this counts as an emergency so we can not refuse him access. We have not had smoke detectors fitted until now so we fail to see why it is an emergency now if it wasn’t for the previous 8 months of our tenancy. (My understanding is that the alarm receptors are there and functioning it’s just the boxes that haven’t been fitted until now.)
Are we within our rights to refuse him entry? Can we call the police or change the locks if he tries this again? I don’t feel safe when I am home alone now as I worry he may try and come into the house.
Although I suppose it is good that your landlord is doing repair work (some landlords fail to do anything), my view is that this is unacceptable behaviour.
When you rent a property as a tenant you are, so long as the tenancy lasts, the owners of the property – the landlord has exchanged the rights of the owner in return for the right to receive rent and get the property back when the tenancy ends.
He is entitled to do repair work on giving you not less than 24 hours notice, but this does not mean he can then waltz in and out as he likes. This behaviour sounds like harassment to me. I agree that work to the smoke alarm does not constitute an ‘emergency’.
I suspect that he probably won’t take any notice of anything you say, so maybe the best thing to do would be to speak to your Local Authority Tenancy Relations Officer about this.
One of a TRO’s jobs is to advise and assist tenants who are experiencing problems with their landlord and hopefully he will write to your landlord asking him to give proper notice and confine his visits to the property to reasonable hours.
If your Local Authority is not able to help (some are more helpful than others) you could alternatively all club together and see if you can instruct a local solicitor to write a letter on your behalf.
To help the TRO / Solicitor I suggest you start keeping a diary of events making sure you record the dates and what happens.
My view is that if a landlord continues to enter a property without permission after he has been asked to stop, this will justify the tenants changing the locks. However, there have been discussions on this site in the past where people have challenged this.