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Rights of entry and refusal

It is the tenantís right not to be unreasonably disturbed or harassed whilst living in the landlordís property [See criminal harassment section 6.2.12]. The landlord is giving the tenant the right to occupy the property as their home, the landlord is not entitled to enter the tenantís living area without permission.

It is advisable to set out the arrangements for access and procedures for getting repairs done in the tenancy agreement. The landlord or landlordís agent has the legal right to enter the property at reasonable times of day to carry out the repairs for which the landlord is responsible and to inspect the condition and state of repair of the property. However he must give at least 24 hours written notice before doing so; other than by mutual agreement, or in genuine emergencies.

It is the tenantís right to refuse access if the tenant wishes. If access is refused the landlord cannot enter - this is because the tenantís right to exclude people from the property overrides the landlordís right of access if the two are in conflict. However, refusal to let the landlord inspect at all, will put the tenant in breach of the tenancy agreement. 

Normally a tenant will refuse access because they wish to be present at the inspection visit and the suggested appointment date is not convenient.  This is entirely reasonable and is indeed in the landlordís favour to have the tenant present as it will then be less difficult for the tenant to raise any accusations of theft against the landlord if items go missing in the property.

The landlord should seek legal advice from a landlords association or legal advisor if the tenant will not provide access to the property at all.

If a tenant will not give their consent for work to be carried out, then you may apply to the court for an order to enter and carry out the works.

An order can be made subject to conditions regarding the time at which the work is carried out. It may possibly require alternative accommodation arrangements depending on the extent of the works.

Note however, that if the tenant is injured in a situation where they have refused to allow access for the relevant repair work to be done, the tenant cannot then claim against the landlord for damages as it will be their fault that the problem has not been rectified.

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