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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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We are leaving our rented property at the end of April, as

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We are leaving our rented property at the end of April, as the landlord is selling the property.
He has given a key to the estate agents, and the estate agents have said that they will come into our property and show people around. I have objected to this, am I within my legal,rights?
What legal right does the owner/ landlord have to enter our property and show people around?

Kind Regards,

Graham Pass

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

May I confirm if you are aware whether there is a condition in your tenancy that provides that the landlord may have access to your property during the final month or two of your tenant to show around prospective new tenants please? Such a provision is relatively common?

Customer: No I don't believe he has
Joshua :

Thanks. You may wish to double check your tenancy agreement to be sure as such provisions are commonly included. Your legal position however is as follows...

Joshua :

If there is such a provision in your tenancy agreement that states he can enter for viewings this is a useful provision for him because he can give you notice and if you do not object he can then rely on the provision to enter.

Joshua :

If there is no such provision then he may also enter under any provision that allows him to enter on giving the minimum period of written notice - usually 24 or 48 hours.

Customer: Ok, and what if there is not a provision?
Joshua :

However regardless of what provisions there may be in your tenant if he enters against your permission (i.e. you object) the position is very different. He may be guilty inter alia of a breach of contract under common law, an offence under both the Protection Against Eviction Act and the protection from Harassment Act (the latter if he repeatedly enters against your permission).

Customer: But can the estate agents enter on his behalf?
Joshua :

The agents are in no different position to the landlord as they simply act as the Landlords agent and therefore the landlord is responsible for their actions and the agent is responsible to the landlord.

Even if you find there is a term permitting the landlord entry, the OFT also advise that they would consider a term giving the landlord a right to enter against the tenants permission to be unfair under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts - see below:

Joshua :

3.32 We would object to a provision giving the landlord an excessive right to enter the rented property. Under any kind of lease or tenancy, a landlord is required by common law to allow his tenants ‘exclusive possession’ and ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the premises during the tenancy. In other words, tenants must be free from unwarranted intrusion by anyone, including the landlord. Landlords are unfairly disregarding that basic obligation if they reserve a right to enter the property without giving reasonable notice or getting the tenant’s consent, except for good reason.

Joshua :

Therefore any such terms in tenancy agreements are very fragile. As above they have some value in that in signing the same you agree to such access (ie. in default of an express refusal) but the landlord cannot hold you to that if ultimately you do not wish to give access. If you refuse he nor his agent cannot enter and commits a criminal offence in so doing.

Customer: Ok, it's just that our children are home from University, I live and work in Doha and we all have such little time together. He has arranged two viewings for tonight and we are leaving the property in just over 12 days. I suspect he may arrange more over the coming days, we just want estate agents taking people around our home, especially given the fact w are leaving soon,
Customer: Sorry, we don't want estate agents taking people around our home
Joshua :

If you do not wish to allow entry you are within your rights to serve written notice refusing permission for him or his agents to enter pointing out that their ignoring your notice will be considered a breach of the above legislation pointing out that it is a criminal offence

Joshua :

The landlord will no doubt be unhappy but if he ignores your notice he can be guilty of a criminal offence and expose himself to no unsubstantial damages.

Customer: Many thanks, XXXXX XXXXX you a Merlot!
Customer: Thanks very much for all your help
Joshua :

A pleasure. What a nice thought

Joshua :

Ensure you keep a copy of any notice you serve and ideally you would have some practical way of detecting entry - e.g. an occupant or alarm or some such approach if you are not physically there

Joshua :

If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do no hesitate to let me know.

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with though please reply back to me though.

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