Here is a question to the blog clinic from Jon whose son is a tenant.
My son has an assured tenancy agreement and he tells me now after 6 months that the agent regularly sends potential buyers to view the property.
On one occasion he forgot someone was coming was in bed and they actually opened the door themselves as he did not answer. I investigated and find the agent has put a clause in the contract that says
2.63(a) At any time during the tenancy, upon a minimum of 24 hours prior written notification, to permit the premises to be viewed during working hours and at other reasonable times including at weekends by prospective purchasers who are authorised to do so by the Landlord or his appointed Agent. Except where mutually agreed otherwise with the Tenant, the Landlord or his authorised Agent or representative will accompany these viewing appointments.
Is this allowed ? is this not in direct contravention of the housing act that says the tenant must be allowed to enjoy quiet and peaceful enjoyment?
That is actually quite a common type of clause as landlords and agents will need to visit the property from time to time – to carry out inspections, get things like the annual gas certificate done, and (as in this case) show round potential tenants or buyers of the property.
However they must give at least 24 hours written notice and the tenant has the right to object to any specific visit.
The agents also need to be reasonable about it. If they are sending round numerous potential buyers and letting themselves into the property while tenants are in bed – that sounds like interference with the tenants ‘covenant of quiet enjoyment’ to me.
The ‘covenant of quiet enjoyment’ by the way is the right of all tenants to live in the property without interference from the landlord.
What can be done?
I think your son should write to the agents and point out that this is his home, and ask that the number of visits be reduced and that each visit be specifically agreed with him in advance.
If this is not done then he will have the right to complain to the agents Property Redress Scheme.
You can also complain to your Local Authority. This used to be the sort of thing that tenancy relations officers would deal with but they are a dying breed and most Local Authorities will be too busy and understaffed to deal with relatively minor issues like this.
Some tenants will routinely change the locks when they move in so agents and landlords are unable to enter unless the tenants let them in.
You need to be careful about doing this though as it may be in breach of the terms of your tenancy agreement meaning that you could have the cost of replacement locks deducted from the deposit. Plus it will be more expensive if you lose your keys as the landlord or agent will not have a spare set available to get copies cut from.
However, in situations where agents or landlords are constantly letting themselves into the property (which does happen), it is probably the only answer. Particularly if the person letting themselves in is the landlord – as at present there is no mandatory redress scheme service for landlords.