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Know your rights: Landlord access

27 October 2017 / By: / Under: Landlords

Landlord rights: landlord access to rented property

With private landlords in the UK owning property worth an estimated £990.7 billion, and it being predicted that by 2020 the total number of rented homes will have increased to 5.5 million (about one in five households), it should come as little surprise that one of the main causes of tension between landlords and tenants is a misunderstanding of the landlord’s right to inspect or view properties that they own. 

As letting agents in Bromley and the majority of London boroughs, Assetgrove has noted that tensions between landlords and tenants are more likely to escalate into a full-blown dispute because the stakes for property investors are higher. 

With a residential home inside the M25 now worth an average £525,000, and monthly rents near the £1,500 mark, landlords in London are naturally keen to keep a close eye on their property assets.

Do I have the right to visit my rental property?

In broad terms, The Housing Act 1988 denies a landlord the right to turn up unannounced at their property and gain access. According to the legislation, landlords must provide their tenants with at least 24 hours’ notice before entering the property. 

However, landlords do have three rights of access to their property. There are…

  • The Right of Reasonable Access. Your first right as a landlord is a right of reasonable access to carry out repairs. The definition of ‘reasonable access’ depends on why you need to gain entry. In an emergency, for example, you’ll be entitled to enter the property to carry out any necessary work. However, it is rare for such a scenario to arise, and will only come into force when there’s a threat to safety. Examples of such a threat include a fire in the property, the smell of gas, structural damage that urgently needs attention, or the suspicion of a violent or criminal incident. 
  • The Right to Enter to Inspect the Property’s State of Repair/Empty a Fuel Slot Meter. Beware that this right does not give you immediate access, and 24 hours’ notice must be given. 
  • The Right to Enter in Order to Provide Room Cleaning Services. This right only comes into play if you draw up an agreement stating that you’ll provide a room cleaning service, or where the room is shared by multiple lodgers. In this scenario, you don’t need to obtain permission before entering the property. 

In every other circumstance you don’t have a right of entry unless you obtain a court order stating otherwise. 

Can I visit at any time provided notice has been provided? 

Your tenancy agreement will state that visits must only be made at reasonable times of day. This gives your tenant the option to be present during the visit, and gives them the opportunity to tidy up beforehand. The tenant can also then arrange to have a witness present if you don’t have the best relationship with them.

Can I take other people into the property? 

If your tenant has given notice that they want to move out, you have the right to both conduct visits and show the property to prospective new tenants. However, this only comes into effect during the last 28 days of a standard assured shorthold tenancy agreement. 

The same right exists whether you’ve served a Notice to Terminate (essentially, a notice of eviction) or your tenant has given notice that they’re moving out. If you’ve served notice before the end of the lease agreement, this must have been done in accordance with Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. 

Even in this situation, access is only gained by providing 24 hours’ notice in writing.

Penalties for breaking the rules 

If you fail to abide by these rules, you run the risk of being prosecuted for harassment under the Housing Act 1988, and you may need to seek legal advice.  

Here at Assetgrove, we understand that landlords want to safeguard their property assets. We also want to help landlords and tenants to have a constructive, stress-free relationship. That is why our Rent Guarantee Scheme offers landlords what they are looking for: hassle-free letting.  

At Assetgrove, we make property management easier while ensuring you receive fixed monthly payments even if your property is not tenanted. Assetgrove offers up to five years’ guaranteed rent, and will manage every single aspect of the tenancy during this period – with no monthly fees, commission or hidden surprises to pay for. 

To find out more about how Assetgrove works with landlords to maximise the value of their rental property, contact us today. 

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