Tenants have a right to quiet enjoyment of their accommodation.
Even if the landlord gives proper notice of a visit, the tenant may still legally refuse access. If a tenant refuses access the landlord should try and find out why before resorting to legal action. It may simply be the timing of the appointment and the fact that the tenant is unable to get time off work – in which case an evening or weekend appointment could be arranged.
Only if the tenant will not make alternative arrangements or where the tenant persistently causes delays and in so doing compromises the landlord’s ability to fulfil their legal obligations should the landlord consider terminating the tenancy using the prescribed legal process or seeking a court order to secure access.
There are times when the property may have to be entered as a matter of urgency. Statutory bodies are able to do this in appropriate circumstances:
- gas: contact the National Grid emergency number 0800 111 999 water: sewer and/or flooding: contact the utility company responsible for water in the area if closing the stopcock is ineffective suspicious circumstances relating to criminal activity: liaise with the police.
- Landlords who enter without the consent of the tenant or against their wishes must be able to demonstrate, if challenged, that it was reasonable to enter under the circumstances.