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What rules govern a landlord entering your home?

 

A tenancy agreement between a landlord and a tenant confers the right of exclusive possession to the tenant.

Exclusive possession means the tenant has the right to enjoy the use of the property to the exclusion of everyone else, including the landlord. Therefore, if the landlord wishes to enter the premises, they must get permission from the tenant and give them at least 24 hours notice.

If they do not, this breaks property law.

Reasons a landlord can enter a property

The landlord is only allowed to enter the premises for specific reasons. They are allowed, with the tenant’s permission, to carry out repairs and to inspect the state of repair of the property. And a landlord may be able to enter a property with little or no notice if there is an emergency.

In addition, there may be a clause in the tenancy agreement that allows the landlord to access the property in order to show it to prospective tenants. The clause will usually stipulate that it must be at a reasonable time of the day and reasonable notice must be given to the tenant.

If a landlord is deliberately calling at unreasonable hours for instance, the tenant should take legal advice from property solicitors regarding any action they can take.

Can a landlord enter a property to evict a tenant?

A landlord is not entitled to enter a property to evict a tenant unless they have an order form the court.

The Protection from Eviction Act 1977 created the offence of unlawful eviction and a tenant subject to an unlawful eviction has the right to apply for an injunction in the civil courts to restore their residence in the rented property.

In order for an eviction to be lawful, the tenant must have failed to fulfil their obligations under the tenancy agreement, for example they have failed to pay the rent or have damaged the property. A landlord must give the tenant the correct notice in order to evict them. Tenants who wish to contest an eviction order are strongly advised to obtain the help of property solicitors to handle their case.

Penalties for the landlord

Under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 if a landlord enters a property without warning and it is not an emergency, they can be found guilty of harassment. It is also harassment for a landlord to enter a property while the tenant is out, to change the locks without warning and without giving the tenant new keys, and to allow the property to fall into disrepair.

If a landlord is found guilty of harassment, they can be fined or in some cases, imprisoned. Property lawyers can act on behalf of tenants that allege their landlord has broken the terms of their tenancy agreement and the 1977 Act.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on landlord and tenant law, Caven can put you in touch with a local specialist property / landlord and tenant law solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding landlord and tenant law solicitors please call us on 0808 129 5759 or complete the web-form above.

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