Here is a fairly short but fundamental question to the Blog Clinic from Gavin who is a tenant
Can the agency I rent from just turn up to my house with out notice being given?
The simple answer to this is ‘no’.
However lets look at a few issues that this raises.
The covenant of quiet enjoyment
Under the ‘covenant for quiet enjoyment’ (which is part of all tenancies whether it is specifically set out in the tenancy agreement or not) you have the right to exclude everyone from the property – with a few exceptions.
The exceptions being things like
- Police Officers with search warrants,
- Local authority officers acting under one of their powers (I can’t remember off hand what these are, but no doubt Ben can enlighten us in the comments) and
- The landlord (or his agent) in case of real emergency – for example if the property is on fire.
There are others. But they do not include the landlord or his agent turning up to do a routine inspection.
Here they may be entitled to enter but not if the tenant says ‘no’. Saying ‘no’ may put the tenant in breach of his tenancy agreement, but it is his right to refuse entry if he wants.
Although it is not a good idea, long term, to refuse access to the landlord or his agent if they want access for a lawful reason.
Right of access on written notice
Under the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 s11(6)
In a lease in which the lessor’s repairing covenant is implied there is also implied a covenant by the lessee that the lessor, or any person authorised by him in writing, may at reasonable times of the day and on giving 24 hours’ notice in writing to the occupier, enter the premises comprised in the lease for the purpose of viewing their condition and state of repair.
So they must provide the written notice. It is generally accepted that at least 24 hours written notice must also be provided any other authorised visits to the property.
However before reporting the agency to the Local Authority for harassment, you might want to just check that they have not given notice already.
Check your tenancy agreement
For example some tenancy agreements set out dates when the landlord or his agent will inspect the property, or they may have given notice a while ago and you have forgotten about it.
Note also that the visit must be for something authorised under either statute (eg the right of inspection under s11(6) or your tenancy agreement.
Many tenancy agreements for example provide for landlords (or their agents) to be able to show prospective tenants round in the last month of the tenancy (upon giving written notice).
So you need to check your tenancy agreement and see what it says.
I have heard of landlords or agents writing and saying something along the lines of that they reserve the right to come round any time they want during the next few weeks (without giving a specific time) and then claim that this is ‘written notice’.
But if they have given notice, proper notice, for a visit for something authorised by statute or the tenancy agreement, then you are in breach of your tenancy agreement if you don’t let them in.
But not (to answer the question) if they have not.