So, your tenant wont let you step foot inside your own property. Frustrating, right?
Don’t feel short changed. Your tenant has every right to say no to letting you in (with exceptions.) However, there are circumstances which you NEED access to the property and tenants who won’t let you cross the threshold can be a serious problem.
So how do you deal with a tenant not letting you in your property?
First, let's talk about your rights as a Landlord.
As a Landlord, you own the property. That means you can access it whenever you want, right? Wrong.
Contrary to what you might think, you can’t just show up unannounced and try to muscle your way in. Tenants are covered under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 guaranteeing their peace of mind against unlawful eviction & harassment.
So as a legal requirement, you need to give a minimum of 24 hours notice and receive (preferably) written confirmation (even email & SMS would suffice) confirming that your tenant is happy to give you access.
This is especially the case if the tenant isn’t going to be present.
Your tenants rights.
When a tenant moves into your property, they’re granted a right noted by English property law as ‘quiet enjoyment.’
This doesn’t literally mean that the tenant has the privilege to enjoy a ‘quiet’ property… What this does grant is the ability to enjoy the property without unreasonable interference from the Landlord or anyone acting on behalf of.
This gives them the power to deny access to anybody trying to get into the property, involving the Landlord too.
They have what is known as ‘exclusive possession’ whilst they are living at the property.
Is it a HMO?
If your property is a HMO, you’re able to access the shared parts of the property without permission as you’ll need to do to ensure your HMO management duties are kept in good standing.
Being able to access a HMO is important as failure to keep up with management duties can land you a civil penalty of up to £30,000.
Luckily, if your tenancies only state that the room is to be rented out (a room only tenancy) you’ll be allowed to access the communal parts of the property without hindrance.
Getting in on maintenance grounds.
If tenants, for whatever reason, deny access against a legal requirement (like gas safety checks or maintenance issues that need urgent attention) there are ways to gain access to the property.
This is ultimately because your access serves in the tenant’s best interest also.
It’s best to be upfront about why you’re trying to get in.
If your tenant is adamant that you’re not getting in, get in touch with your local authorities who will be able to serve a notice against your tenant in order to gain entry.
However, it doesn’t always go this way. Some Landlords find that tenants blockading their attempts to make improvements or repairs are often hiding something or just being stubborn for the sake of it which ultimately are not the kind of tenants you want.
Because of this, you’ll need to notify your tenant of the legal obligations you have as a Landlord and to address these problems as soon as they crop up.
There’s a clear difference between NEEDING to get into the property and wanting to get in to make improvements.
This part should be relatively easy. Most tenants will agree to let you in if it improves their quality of life.
Unfortunately, to make improvements, you’ll need to rely either on:
- Clauses you set out in the initial tenancy agreement,
- OR permission from the tenant to access the property.
Letting a group of strangers into a tenant’s home directly contradicts the term ‘quiet enjoyment.’
Tenant’s can genuinely refuse access to the property if you try to arrange impromptu viewings, surprise surprise.
You’ll want to make sure that viewings are arranged with your tenant and in a non-intrusive way.
Some tenants will be happy to help out and will make sure the property is nice and tidy, though this won’t always be the case.
Tenants have busy lives and you’ll need to take their availability into account rather than just rocking up.
Make sure the time and date chosen is mutually agreeable and the tenant understands your obligations as a Landlord.
My tenant wont let me into the property.
You might be thinking “I’ve tried all of this! My tenant won’t give me access whatsoever!”
First off, keep your cool and go the legal route.
By doing the wrong thing, you can easily escalate a small dispute with a tenant and derail any attempts to remain civil.
First things first...
Make the tenant aware of your obligation to take them to court for access.
Most tenants will usually give in at this point with the fear of legal intervention.
Bad news though. If you’ve given your tenant leverage by harassing them or turning up unannounced, the tenant will have every right to fight your access attempt.
If this doesn't work..
- You can apply for a court ordered injunction to gain access to your property, assuming you’ve used your due diligence and followed processes to a letter.
- You can serve a Section 21 in order to repossess your property. Like we mentioned earlier, if a tenant isn’t playing ball then the relationship has taken a turn for the worse. That’s why you need to know about the prerequisites of Section 21 to make sure you don’t shoot yourself in the foot.
Covering all bases.
If and when a tenant agrees to letting you into the property for inspections, maintenance and so forth, it’s always best to capture this agreement in writing so you’ve got concrete evidence should a dispute surface later on in the future.
This is where Alphaletz comes into play.
Alphaletz is a sleek & stylish Property Management Software that can help you securely store documents against a particular property or tenant. What’s better is that it’s absolutely free to use for your first property.
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