Being a new landlord, you must be having a lot of questions on your mind. Don’t worry! It is obvious to have queries regarding your rights and responsibilities towards the property. Just because you have let out your property, it does not mean you do not have any right over it. Don’t fall for misconceptions or myths regarding the right of a landlord to access his property. There are rules that govern the same, and you need to know these regulations. Make sure you get your queries solved before signing the tenancy agreement as standard tenancy agreements state the conditions in which landlord can access the property.
24 hour notice
According to the Housing Act 1988, it is required that the letting agent or landlord notifies the tenant in writing at least 24 hours before he wants to access the property. The notice time is to ensure that the tenant has sufficient time to tidy the property and make it presentable. If you do not provide 24 hours notice, the tenant can legally refuse to give you entry to the property. Notice needs to be in the form of an email or letter; it cannot be in the form of a text or SMS.
Reasonable hours for visitation
In a tenancy agreement, it is required to mention the conditions like, what is a reasonable time of the day to visit and more. So, even if you have given 24 hours notice, you cannot go around whenever you want. The definition of reasonable hours for visit will depend on the type of tenants. For example, if your tenant works a night shift, an inspection at 8am is not “reasonable”. Along with reasonable timing, the time of the visit will also depend on the circumstances under which you are visiting.
If, as a landlord, you have poor relations with your tenant, it is advisable to arrange the presence of a witness while you are accessing your home.
Covenant to quiet enjoyment
In the tenancy agreement, you may come across the term ‘covenant to quiet enjoyment’, it means that, as a landlord you will allow the tenant to have uninterrupted, quiet occupation and use of the property. This term is usually under the section of Landlord Obligations.
Right to inspect
Regarding the right to inspect the property, the permission to inspect property or not depends on what is the reason for inspection. The law states that you need to have a genuine reason why you want to inspect the property. You cannot simply demand an inspection just because you want to. Even routine property checks need to be informed and given within 24 hours notice.
If you want to access the property for viewings at the end of tenancy, it can only be conducted after notice has been served by either party. In this case, inspection and viewings can only be done in the last 28 days of the agreement.
Third party access
In case you want to bring someone else along with you or give them access to the property on their own, you can do so. In this case too, you need to give notice to tenants and inform them about the person you are giving access to.
Maintaining a peaceful relationship with your tenant is the only way to avoid legal complications and resolve things easily.