What are my access rights as a landlord?

What are my access rights as a landlord in London?

If you’re a landlord in, you may be wondering whether your tenants have the right to refuse you entry to your own property. Here at Lyss Homes, we often meet landlords who are uncertain of their access rights, so here is our expert guide to help you understand your legal position.

It’s My Property – Surely I Can Enter It At Any Time?

This is a common mistake that many landlords make. While it’s true that you own the property, by entering into a rental agreement with a tenant, you’ve effectively handed over the rights to use and live in the property to your tenant.

Thus, while you’re the property’s owner, the tenant has rights too. The “covenant for quiet enjoyment” is a legal term that basically means your tenant can live in your rental accommodation without you (or your letting agent) hassling them.

Furthermore, once you’ve granted the tenancy, you can’t expect to legally treat your property as your own. With this in mind, it may appear that you are unable to enter the property if your tenant refuses to admit you. However, there’s a lot more to be considered.

The Landlord’s Right Of Entry

Your tenants may have an entitlement to “quiet enjoyment” of your rental property, but you do still have the right of entry in certain circumstances. There are three reasons you can enter the accommodation:

  • To inspect it.
  • To carry out repairs or address an emergency such as a fire, flood, criminal activity, or structural damage.
  • To provide a service such as gardening or cleaning (these instances must be covered within your tenancy agreement).

Must I Give The Tenants’ Notice?

In general, you must let your tenants know that you (or your representative) will be entering the property at least 24 hours before you do so. However, you can enter your property legally with no permission or notice in an emergency.

Can The Tenant Refuse Me Entry?

A tenant can refuse to let you into the property, but in most cases, if you offer them the opportunity to change the date and time, the problem can be solved quickly and easily. Occasionally, though, landlords may encounter a tenant who refuses access repeatedly. If this occurs, landlords have a few options open to them.

  • Negotiate. The first course of action any landlord should take is to talk to their tenant and try to arrange an alternative day and time. Sending emails is the best way to ensure you have digital evidence should the matter escalate.
  • Tell the tenant they’ll be liable for costs if there is a deterioration of the property’s condition due to the denied access. The tenant should also be told that the landlord will no longer take responsibility for any damage to the tenant’s property or injuries to the tenant themselves if it is caused due to the refused access.
  • Take legal action. If the above efforts fail, the next step is to seek advice from a solicitor. In a worst-case scenario, a court order can be obtained to evict the tenant.

Why Can’t I Just Enter My Property Even If The Tenant Refuses?

It’s very unwise to enter your rental property if the tenant hasn’t permitted you to do so since it would represent an abuse of your tenant’s trust. You could also be putting yourself at risk of an accusation of property damage or theft which could be very difficult to disprove.

At Lyss Homes, we’re highly experienced in rental property management in East London.

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