Helpful Tips Property Management

Forum Spotlight: Gaining access to carry out safety inspection

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

In this week’s Forum Spotlight, we take a look at a recent question a member posted on our Forum relating to gaining access to his property to carry out a safety inspection.

The situation

The landlord was well aware of his obligation that he needed to give the tenant 24 hours notice in writing before entering the property.

After ignoring two previous messages from the landlord regarding inspections, the tenant responded to the requests by texting back that the landlord can ‘check the house whenever’.

The landlord posted on our forum, seeking clarification that this text message meant he now had permission from the tenant to carry out the inspection. He had heard that text messages won’t stand up in court. Keen to ensure he was acting in line with the law, the landlord asked for the advice of other landlords on this matter.

The answer

One user on our Forum pointed out that just because the tenant had said the landlord in this case would be free to enter the property ‘whenever’- this does not mean that the landlord can enter whenever they like without giving any sort of notice of a day.

He suggested that this landlord gives at least 24 hours written notice, and waits for the tenant to confirm that this is ok. If the tenant does not refuse, then it is a good idea that the tenant knocks at the door of the property and waits for permission.

The response from our Landlord Advice Team

One of the RLA’s advisors began by confirming that a formal inspection notice must be made 24 hours before the landlord plans to enter the property. The tenant has the right to decline this as they have the right to ‘quiet enjoyment’. (Except for a real emergency)

Notice can include a text message. If the tenant has not declined entry, and the landlord does have keys, then the landlord could go to the property at the day and time stated and knock loudly a few times.

Even if the tenant appears to have given permission to enter then the permission may not be valid at all if you have misled the tenant as to why you want to go in or if you have not informed the tenant about the reasons for access.

If no one answers open the door and shout in stating you are the Landlord and have come to inspect as mentioned. If they decline then keep requesting once a week (too little to be deemed harassment) and make sure to mention the smoke alarms on the notice.

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About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.

4 Comments

  • Do you mean ‘landlord knocks at the door’?

    He suggested that this landlord gives at least 24 hours written notice, and waits for the tenant to confirm that this is ok. If the tenant does not refuse, then it is a good idea that the tenant knocks at the door of the property and waits for permission.

  • This situation re: gaining access . In my case the tenant making lame excuses why they were not going to be in or I will look at my husbands works rota, I said my time will work around them I got no reply after that except on 14th Oct 18 giving me notice they were leaving no formal dates given, I was still trying to gain access but they ignored my texts
    I found out they left on 27th Oct owing rent, taking the keys, they did not contact me to be there to collect rent owed, property check & keys to the property, with them taking the keys I had to wait a month for if they decided to return, when I finally gained access to the property after the locksmith had been my question why they would not allow me in the property had been answered, they damaged carpets, re decorated without permission, taken my curtains.
    Then to put salt in a open wound it is taking a long time getting my property fit to re-let therefore I am not getting any rent but having to pay Council Tax etc
    There is too many bad things said about landlords, but nothing said about what landlords have to go thro’ with bad tenants. I used to love renting my properties & proud in what I do but this has sadly diminished

    • I totally agree with you Maureen.
      However painful this seems the best outcome was that they vacated the property without you having to fork out court costs, bailiffs etc. The entire process would have taken at least four months. Of course add the fact that you would only be able to serve section 8 until the tenant was 2 months in arrears…

      My advice for the future, only take tenants that can be covered by rent insurance. Even if it takes a little longer to find the right tenants it is worth it in the end.

      We have a tenant that hasn’t paid rent since October 2018 and we’ll only be able to apply for Bailiffs tomorrow, so by the time we gain possession it will be early to mid March.
      Meanwhile, they have consistently flogged off any dates we suggested for an inspection so frankly we gave up trying in December. All the safety Certificates are valid so we’re covered in that respect, as to the actual condition of the property, as they owe us £12,500 in rent (more by the time they are actually evicted) we have little hope that the property will be returned to us in a a decent condition and there is nothing we can do about it.

  • Landlords will only put up with this sort of thing for so long. It will drive us to seek better and fairer regulated investments. If there are fewer properties to let perhaps someone will notice and do something to redress the balance?

    Why can’t there be a procedure to allow landlords enforced access to the property they own and are responsible for, with reasonable grounds?

    Can one enforce access to conduct a gas inspection?

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