Here is a question to the blog clinic from Richard, who is a letting agent:
I am a Lettting Agent and we are having issues with accessing a property for viewings as the current tenant is being quite difficult. We have been calling, emailing and writing letters but we either have no response or are told it is inconvenient. We seem to get this quite regularly with our tenants but as you can appreciate do not want to go in without their consent.
Obviously with these tenants we sometimes have to wait until they have left to gain access easily for viewings which then means the Landlord is losing money through a void period between tenancies.
Would the Landlord be able to claim against the tenants deposit for compensation of lost rent because the tenant was obstructive for viewings? And would a deposit scheme rule against the tenant?
I can see both sides of this problem. For example if I were a tenant, I really would not want someone else being shown around my home, particularly if I was not there. It is a real intrusion on privacy.
So far example if I had a busy job I would want to come home to relax, rather than have to tidy the house up because the landlord was coming round with a lot of strangers who would be looking into my bedroom and maybe sniggering at my possessions.
I can also see the landlord’s side – obviously they prefer to have new tenants move in as soon as possible so there are no voids.
There is also the lawyer’s answer which is that actually you cannot guarantee that the property will be available to let any time soon if tenants are still in situ. They are perfectly entitled to dig their heels in and decide to stay in the property until they are evicted by the courts – which will take about three to six months.
So a landlord would be most unwise to sign a new tenant up while the old tenant was still in the property.
Taking all that into account (particularly the last point) my view is that you can’t really penalise a tenant for failing to allow viewings. However it might be worthwhile for the landlord to offer a bonus to the tenants for allowing viewings and moving out promptly.
So for example the landlord could offer to pay the tenants a bonus of 50% of the rent if replacement tenants are found before they moved out, to be paid to them after they had vacated. He would still be better off than if there had been a void, and the tenants will no doubt be pleased to have a bonus to help with their removal.