The place you rent from a landlord becomes your home. They should only come in without you being there if you’ve given them permission to or if it’s a real emergency. For inspections, repairs, and maintenance, your landlord or letting agent will need to get into the property. By law, they have to give you 24 hours’ written notice. In other words, no, your landlord cannot enter a property without permission.
If you’re new to renting and don’t know what the landlord’s and tenant’s rights and responsibilities are, keep reading for our full guide to landlord access in rented properties.
The Right To Quiet Enjoyment
As a tenant, if you sign an assured shorthold tenancy agreement, you have the right to “quiet enjoyment of your property.” You pay rent to the landlord so that you can use the property as your home. Since it is your home, you have the right to decide who comes in and when. If your landlord comes into your home without your permission, they are technically breaking the law unless they have a court order to do so. They cannot just enter a property because they want to.
Landlords’ Right Of Access To Enter A Property
Still, landlords or letting agents can go into the property to do what the law says they have to do. The Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985 says that your landlord can look at your home as long as they give you at least 24 hours’ notice and come at a reasonable time.
The landlord should send you a letter telling you who will be coming into the property and why. You are not forced to say yes to the visit. But keep in mind that it might be in your best interest to be flexible, so that your landlord can keep the house in good shape and make sure it’s safe and comfortable to live in, and so that you can keep getting along.
Why Your Landlord Might Want To Enter A Property
There are many good reasons why your landlord might want to enter a property:
For regular inspections, your landlord has the right to check the property at regular times to look for damage or problems that could get worse and cost a lot to fix.
For repairs and maintenance, the landlord is responsible if you report a problem or an inspection finds one.
Your landlord is required by law to have a gas safety check done every year.
To have viewings near the end of the tenancy. If you’ve given your landlord notice that you’re leaving, he or she will need to find a new tenant, so it’s a reasonable request that you show people around.
Enter A Property In An Emergency
In a real emergency, your landlord will need to get into your home right away. In this case, they won’t need permission from the tenant to enter a property. Emergencies are rare situations like a fire, flood, the smell of gas, dangerous damage to a building, or the thought that someone has done something violent or illegal.
Changing The Locks
Your right of exclusivity gives you the legal right to change the locks on your rental property. You don’t have to give your landlord a set of keys unless it says in your rental agreement that you do.
Think about whether it would make things easier if you gave your landlord a set of keys in case of an emergency, if you locked yourself out, or if you agreed to inspections and repairs while you were away.
Tenant Refusing Entry
If your landlord asks to enter a property in writing, you can say no if it doesn’t work for you, but try to offer an alternative and come to an agreement. If you keep saying no, it could make you look like you don’t want to help and make the landlord less willing to work with you if you need them to.
Work or other obligations may make it hard for you to give a 24-hour notice. If you don’t want your landlord to come in when you’re not there, suggest a longer notice period that will make things easier, or let them know any regular times that work for you.
Most landlords are fair and easy to get along with. If your landlord comes over too often, at odd hours, or without your permission when you’re not there, they may be breaking the law. This is especially true if their actions make you feel pressured. Under the Housing Act of 1988, it is illegal to bother tenants. If you think this is happening to you, talk to a lawyer or call Citizens Advice for help.