Access & Unauthorised Access
Unfortunately, we do receive regular complaints about Landlords and Agents accessing properties without permission to enter. This can be very unnerving or distressing to some students so it is useful to know what Landlords and Agents can or cannot do. This information is very general and rental circumstances can vary widely so it is always best to discuss your individual circumstances with us before discussing with your landlord/agent.
Can my landlord/agent come into the property?
It depends. As tenants you are entitled to live peacefully without interference. If your landlord does anything to disrupt this then they could be guilty of harassment. If you are renting you are likely to have either exclusive possession of either your room or the entire property. This will depend on the type of contract you have.
If you are on a joint tenancy and only the people named on the tenancy reside at the property, then the landlord should give you notice that they need to enter. You can still refuse but should consider they might need to enter to comply with a legal obligation e.g. repairs or because you have agreed under the tenancy agreement terms to access for specific things such inspections or viewings. The landlord should ALWAYS give you 24 hours WRITTEN notice unless it is in an emergency.
If you live in a shared house but only have a sole tenancy with just your name on it then the landlord does not require consent to enter the communal areas. They only need to give 24 hours WRITTEN notice to access your room.
Can I refuse access?
Certainly, without notice - unless it is an emergency. Otherwise, you still can but you need to consider this might put you in breach of your tenancy agreement and have associated consequences. It might also put a landlord/Agent in breach of a legal requirement/local licensing requirement and any consequence to them could be passed onto you. You need to consider the purpose for the access too and weigh up whether this access is necessary or appropriate. If you’ve reported a repair and they turn up to do it without notice, will you allow access in order to get the repair done but remind them of access notice in future or will you turn them away and risk having to wait even longer?
Blanket notice is also not appropriate. Being told a landlord will call to inspect and turning up 6 weeks later isn’t appropriate. The notice should state clearly when and whom will be coming. This applies equally for contractors. Persistent issues of unauthorised access can be reported to your council or via the SAC.
Can I say what they can come in for?
If you signed a tenancy agreement it is likely to have an access section or clauses. This is you having already consented to some types of access so look at that first to be clear. If you are yet to sign a tenancy agreement, then look a this before you sign and if you are doubtful about anything get it checked out or discuss with the landlord/agent anything you are unclear on or want changing.
Whether it falls within the scope of the clauses or is for another reason ask them to be clear about times/dates, who will be attending, how long they will need to be there and if more than one visit will be necessary. Ideally if there are joint tenants all should be notified unless a single point of contact has been previously agreed. Access should not be sought under the guise of one reason and used for another e.g. for a repair but using this to inspect the property or conduct a viewing.
Last updated: 17 November 2020