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Can landlords force access to a property?

Can landlords force access to a property?

Landlords, both private and social, may require access to one of their tenanted properties for a variety of different reasons. So, can landlords force access to a property?

Landlords have a general duty to repair and maintain properties throughout the duration of a tenancy and are legally obliged to comply with gas and electricity safety regulations so access may be necessary on occasion.

A landlord may also wish to carry out a general inspection to ascertain the current condition of the property or may wish to gain access as they suspect that their tenant is illegally sub-letting the property.

Access should normally be requested in writing in the first instance.

The initial access request letter should;

  • Be hand delivered where possible
  • Advise the tenant that access to the property is required and provide reasons for requesting same (e.g. general inspection, gas safety checks etc.)
  • Provide a date and time when an attempt will be made to gain access to the property. A landlord should give at least 48 'hours' notice to the tenant and provide contact details so that a tenant can arrange an alternative time/date if the one provided doesn't suit

Difficulties however can arise where a tenant either refuses to allow access or does not respond to a landlord's request to allow access to the property.

In this position, a landlord may consider forcing access to the property.

Our legal advice to landlords is to always obtain a court order before forcing access to a property. If access is forced without a court order then a landlord may be left exposed to a court action from a tenant for unlawful access to their property.

A court order is obtained by way of making a summary application to the court and will generally be granted providing good cause can be shown and there are no exceptional circumstances. It may also be possible to request that the action calls in court at an earlier date than usual by seeking a shortened period of notice. Once again good cause must be shown e.g. in order for essential maintenance work to be carried out.

If you wish to gain access to one of your tenanted properties or have any queries in relation to the above please don't hesitate to contact one of our housing team with experienced lawyers based in our Glasgow and Edinburgh offices.

CTA problem tenants brochure 550x189

Written by : Jim Bauld

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