One of the most frequent problems faced by landlords is how they access a property when their tenant refuses to let them in. This is more common when the landlord, tenant relationship has broken down!
Most Short Assured Tenancies should have a specific clause covering landlord’s access to the property. Most of these clauses say that the tenant agrees to give the landlord access:
• To carry out maintenance, repair or inspection
• Provided written notice has been given to the tenant of not less than 24 hours
Many landlords think that because such a clause exists in their lease, they can simply enter the property as and when they wish. This is not the case! Even if you have such a clause, and you give your tenant the required notice, if you turn up at the property and your tenant is not in or refuses to give you access, you cannot simply let yourself into the property. You have no legal right of entry!
Where access is required in an “emergency” situation, it may not necessarily be the landlord who has the right of access! If there is a serious water leak it may be Scottish Water , or Transco (gas leak), who should force access.
Where your tenant is not cooperating and you require access, you can obtain a Court Order to force access to the property, on the basis of any contractual right (under your lease). However, as with any court action, this may take some time!
What About Key Agreements?
Some Landlords may enter into a “Key Agreement” with their tenants, at the outset of the lease. This can outline the tenant’s agreement for the Landlord to keep a set of keys and the circumstances in which the tenant is agreeable to the Landlord using such keys to enter the property.
However, ultimately, a Landlord should always have the tenant’s permission to access the property. The last thing you want as a Landlord is to be accused by your tenant of items going missing in the property whilst you entered it unoccupied, which happens more often than you might think!
If you’d like advice on a specific situation or if your short assured tenancy agreement hasn’t been reviewed recently and you want to ensure you are protecting your property to the best of your ability, get in touch.