As a landlord, it is very important to ensure periodic inspections are conducted throughout each tenancy, to establish that the condition of your property is in a reasonable state and your tenants are complying with the tenancy agreement. Equally however, landlords must respect the rights to access properties once tenants have moved in.
The best way to start any tenancy is to clearly outline to your tenants your rights as a landlord to enter the property. By doing this at the at the start it is a good way to be able avoid any future misunderstandings and keep both you and the tenant happy.
By law in accordance to the Housing Act 1988 you are to provide a minimum of 24 hours’ notice of a visit at all times. It is important to remember that you must always take into account a visit is only arranged for a reasonable time of the day – failure to do this can result in you being refused entry.
The key to this is to always be aware whilst this is your property, it is the tenants home and they also have right to ‘quiet enjoyment’.
As a landlord you have three main rights to be able to legally enter your property:
Reasonable Access: This right is to be able to allow you to gain access to the property be able to carry out necessary repairs to the property. In an emergency you would be entitled to gain access to the property without giving prior notice.
Entry to inspect the state of a repair or to empty a slot meter: This is your second right as an owner to enter the property to inspect any repairs or to empty a slot meter. This right does not allow you immediate entry into the property and the minimum 24 hours’ notice would need to be given prior to the visit.
Entry to provide a room cleaning service: This is a conditional between yourself and your tenant and only if this is provided by an agreement prior. This is usually where there are multiple lodgers and in this case permission would not need to be gained before entering.
There are exceptions to the 24 hour stipulation put in place; these would be in situations in an emergency or that is a threat to the safety of your tenants. These occasions include the event of a fire occurring internally at the property, any suspicion of Violent of Criminal incidents, structural damage that needs looking at urgently and the smell of gas.
Most tenancy agreements include a clause for periodic inspections, specifying that the landlord has permission to access the property to conduct an inspection. If you are putting the agreement together yourself, it is important to include this clause, to ensure that tenants are aware of your duties.
While it is the law that landlords must keep the property in a good state of repair, tenants may not be aware of your rights to check the condition of the property on a regular basis. Including this clause in the agreement informs them of this practice.