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Property Checks – A Landlord’s Access Rights

Phi Spencer

By Phil Spencer

When you rent a property, you have certain rights, and one of those rights is to occupy the property, in exchange for rent money. Associated with this right is that you can live there peacefully, without constant intrusion by the landlord or letting agent.

However, the landlord has rights to access your property at specific times. Therefore, it’s vital you understand a landlord’s access rights, alongside your own. If you’re wondering when a landlord is allowed to enter your property, read on for our advice.

Your responsibility as a tenant

As a tenant of a rented property, it’s expected that you will occupy the property in the manner befitting a tenant. This means that you should treat the property as your own, but bear in mind that it is still rented.

So, whilst you will be expected to change light bulbs, clean the property and mow the lawn (as you would do if the property was your own) you aren’t expected, nor should you be allowed to, undertake any repairs. That is the responsibility of the landlord

If there is any maintenance work required, it's your responsibility to inform the landlord, so that they can carry out any timely repairs, to further prevent any more damage from occurring.

Landlord entry rights

When is a landlord allowed to enter your property?

It is a right of the landlord to enter the premises. For the landlord to be able to carry out any repairs, they have to have access to the property.

Can a landlord enter a property without notice?

Whenever the landlord or any workmen assigned to undertake an inspection or work at the property require access, they have to ask your permission to enter. Landlords are required to give notice before entering, detailing their intended arrival date and time.

A landlord entering a property without notice is illegal. While your landlord has rights to enter the property, tenants also have certain rights.

According to Section 11, from The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, reasonable notice to access a property is typically 24 hours. The visits must occur during routine working hours or at a reasonable time of the day. The notice to enter the property must also include a list of who is entering.

Can I refuse my landlord entry?

If your tenancy agreement states that the landlord has access to the property, at any time of the day or night, whenever they wish to enter, that is illegal.

Anyone who enters the property, whilst you’re renting it, without your permission, is trespassing, and is liable for prosecution.

Right to access for emergency works and repairs

There may come a time when the landlord or letting agent has to access the property immediately, to carry out emergency repair work. In this instance they don’t need to seek your permission first.

Instances where this applies are:

  • Fire in the property
  • Smell of gas
  • Structural damage that needs attending to immediately
  • Suspicion of criminal or violent behaviour from you

Changing the locks

You could request, when you take over the tenancy of a property, to change the locks as you don’t know who has rented the property previously, or who still has access to it.

It always best to seek permission from your landlord. If they are in agreement then confirm who will foot the bill before you find a local locksmith and get a quote.

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