Can a landlord enter a home without permission?

A landlord may officially own your home, but that doesn’t give them free reign to treat a rented property as their own.

While tenants have a responsibility to pay rent on time and report any maintenance issues, landlords also have a duty to uphold.

By law, they must keep the home safe and free of health hazards, protect your deposit, provide an Energy Performance Certificate, and pay tax on the rental income they make.

Because it’s the landlord’s name on the deed, you may believe that they can come and go as they please. But the rules they’re required to follow are there to protect tenants’ privacy as well as homeowners’ property.

That doesn’t mean you should automatically refuse a landlord access, rather that you’re aware of when their actions cross a line.

‘You have the right to live in your home without being disturbed unreasonably,’ say Shelter. ‘This is sometimes called having a right to “quiet enjoyment” of the property.’

If a landlord regularly turns up unannounced or enters your home without permission, this may be considered harassment.

As a tenant, you’re expected to allow access for essential repairs and checks, so that the landlord can uphold their side of the bargain and keep the property in a habitable condition.

These include:

  • Fixing maintenance issues that you have reported
  • Gas or electrical safety checks
  • Inspections to check for repairs and safety problems

Tenants aren’t required to give a landlord access for ‘non-essential’ improvements unless they’ve agreed that works can go ahead.

Regardless of the reason for a visit, landlords must always give notice to the resident.

In cases where urgent repairs are required there’s no set amount of notice they need to give, but property owners should contact tenants as far ahead as possible so they aren’t surprised by a tradesperson on the doorstep.

Before an inspection or planned visit, landlords must give at least 24 hours’ written notice.

If the appointment isn’t convenient, the tenant is allowed to suggest a different time, get a friend or family member to let the landlord in, or grant them access via their spare key.

There are a number of reasons you may not want a landlord in your home – particularly if you aren’t also there. However, continually refusing access can have repercussions for renters.

Some tenancy agreements include a clause stating the conditions of access, so check your contract. Although these terms do not give landlords the power to enter the home without permission, they may be able to take action if they feel a tenant’s broken them.

Not only can refusing repairs put your health and safety at risk, it may also land you with a Section 21 eviction notice.

The landlord can seek a court order to enter the property, or evict you without reason due to the ‘no fault’ nature of Section 21 (although only court bailiffs can carry out an eviction).

Any threatening or intimidating behaviour from your landlord – or someone else acting on their behalf – should be reported to the council or police. Keep a record of communication frequency and content so you can show this to authorities should you need to.

Even where there are rent arrears or disputes, harassment is never acceptable.

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