Can Landlords Enter Property Without Permission

Updated: November 17, 2017

A question I was asked this week by one of my clients is whether or not a landlord can enter property without permission from the tenant?  Specifically, my client was interested in what happens in circumstances where the tenant wanted to change the codes on the home alarm system and the locks on the front door.

Sign showing landlord not to enter property without permission from the tenant

A landlord should always seek the tenant’s permission to access a tenanted property.

As experienced landlord and contributor to our blog Mary Latham explains in her article on how to gain access to a tenanted property, it is an important reminder to landlords to remember that as soon as you’ve handed over the keys to tenant, you’ve agreed to allow them peaceful or quiet enjoyment in the property for the term of the tenancy.

Therefore, your rights to enter that property/garden are restricted.

Can a landlord enter property without permission to carry out maintenance or repairs?

It is an implied term of every assured tenancy that the landlord or his agent shall have the legal right to enter the property to carry out the repairs that the landlord is entitled to execute, and to inspect the condition and state of repair of the property.

In law, the landlord is obliged to give his tenant 24 hours notice and enter at reasonable times of the day only with the tenant’s explicit permission.

It is a good idea to set out the arrangements for access and procedures for getting repairs done in the tenancy agreement.

The repairing obligations will include those items defined by s11(6) of the Housing Act 1985 (structure of property, and services for supply of water, electricity and other utilities etc.) and any further obligations included in or implied by the agreement.

Whilst the tenant is obligated under the tenancy agreement to permit access to inspect the property, you should not enter their home if the tenant refuses.

Can a landlord or agent keep a spare set of keys?

Yes. A landlord or agent can keep a spare set of keys should they need to enter the property to deal with maintenance issues or to conduct a management inspection.

Again 24 hour prior written permission must be attained although immediate access may be possible in emergencies.

On the subject of keys, landlords are often faced with the frustrating situation of tenants leaving without returning keys to the property.

I recommend that a ‘key clause’ in the tenancy agreement can help encourage the tenants to return the keys, and also allow the landlord to recover any reasonable costs (normally from the deposit) where the tenant fails to do so.

Can a tenant change the locks or alarm codes?

As far as I am aware (and I have researched this thoroughly) there is no written legislation regarding as to whether or not a tenant is legally entitled to change the locks to the property without obtaining consent from the landlord.

Tenant changing locks on a rental property without the landlords permission

For the avoidance of doubt, our tenancy agreements include a clause to help prevent ‘unauthorised’ change of locks.

Therefore, for the avoidance of doubt, our tenancy agreements (a service included in our Guaranteed Rent and Rent on Time packages) include a clause to help prevent ‘unauthorised’ change of locks as follows:

The tenant is not to change, alter, add to or otherwise damage any locks or bolts on the Property (except in the case of an emergency) without the prior written consent of the Landlord or his Agent. Such consent will not be unreasonably withheld. Where any new or additional locks or bolts are fitted to the Property, to promptly provide the Landlord or his Agent with an appropriate set of keys.

If any lock or bolt is installed or changed on or in the Property without the prior written consent of the Landlord or his Agent to remove them if so required by the Landlord or his Agent and be responsible for the fair costs of making good any resultant damage to the Property or spoilage of decoration.

Paul Shamplina, founder of LandlordAction and contributor to our blog, advises:

“It should be noted in the AST that a tenant is to obtain written consent from the landlord to change the locks in the rental property.

If consent is granted, the tenant is obliged to give a copy of these keys to the landlord as well as all sets of keys to be returned back to the landlord at the end of the tenancy.

Although it’s likely a landlord will not be aware that locks have been changed by a tenant if they have not asked for consent, if a tenant changes the locks without the landlords permission, this is seen to be breach of contract.”

Some rental properties have an added benefit of a security alarm. This makes the tenant feel safe and secure and could be a good selling point when trying to look for a new tenant.

The tenant should not change any codes on the alarm system without your prior consent but once they do, they do not necessarily need to inform you of the new code.

Harassment

As Mary summarises, the important thing that we must all remember is that the tenant is in a very powerful position once they have been granted a tenancy.

No landlord wants to end up in Court accused of Harassment or Illegal Eviction as a result of a landlord not showing respect for the tenants legal rights and doing something which would “interfere with the peace or comfort of the occupier” such as entering the property without permission.

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Can Landlords Enter Property Without Permission
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Can Landlords Enter Property Without Permission
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A question I was asked this week by one of my clients is whether or not a landlord can enter property without permission from the tenant?
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LettingaProperty.com
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6 Comments

  1. Josh Asky September 13, 2018 at 10:47 pm #

    As far as I can tell all these laws about not letting the landlord in without permission are weak, nothing is ever done if they just come in without your say so!

  2. Taking things and entering without consent June 4, 2018 at 6:54 am #

    My landlord entered my property without my consent and to top it all off decided to take my broadband router with him again without my permission when it is in fact my equipment through sky which I pay for. How this stemmed about was that I tried to pay my rent on the 01/06 – did the online transfer only for the payment to be returned. I contacted my bank to find out what is going on and they advised that the problem is with his bank – Barclays and not my account. I notified him of this immediately. He then said if he can make a cash payment on the day and he’d come and collect this months rent in person. I said that was not possible as I was going away for the weekend and also that I prefer a bank transfer as it’s my proof that my rent has been paid. He then reluctantly agreed. He then disc he needed to enter the property as he had some wood in the loft that he wanted to use for another property – something I didn’t know about and when I told him that I did not want him there unless I was ther he became threatening about his reply. I told him I have some work stuff and I don’t want him entering without my permission. He then threatened me saying I have to be careful that I’m not breaching the terms of my contract by using the property for commercial use which clearly I am not…. and then threatened me with the if I don’t pay my rent I’d br such too… I took objection to this as I have never missed any payments on my rent and the fact that he entered my property without my permission and took my router really irked me.vcan you please tell me where i stand? Also, he told me I never had a problem when he was in the property before and I told him that I had paid a full months rent but was unable to take ownership for some two and a half weeks because he was still decorating the property and i did not get my rent reduced.

  3. Lisa April 26, 2018 at 6:03 am #

    My tenant has moved out of my property into another rented property owing me three months rent, I know this as they have posted it all
    over social media. I have issued a section 21 which means they need to leave by 27th May, however, they are unaware I know they have moved out and are telling me that they still haven’t found another property. They have also been refusing entry for property checks by my management company for the past six months. I have letters from the council regarding rubbish left in the rear garden, complaints from neighbours saying it’s causing rats. Can I now enter the property with all this evidence? Thanks

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  4. Caroline Rowsell March 28, 2018 at 10:57 pm #

    My letting agent will be showing people round my rented bungalow as i will be moving can they just enter the property without notice or me not being there or just let themselves in?

    • Jonathan Daines April 9, 2018 at 12:04 pm #

      Caroline, the agent must give you 24 hours in writing to access the property.

  5. Anne November 18, 2017 at 12:14 pm #

    I have read your article about changing the code on the alarm. When each new tenant moves in I encourage them to choose a new code but I insist I know it too. I never put a foot in a let out house unless we have agreed as occasionally a visit is necessary. When the tenant asks me to cover having something done and they are not able to be there for it. If they want to change the locks fine but I must have a key. The same with I must know the code to enter my house. As a landlord I must be able to enter the house if it is necessary, I feel that is reasonable.

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