If you are going to begin renting out one of your properties, then landlord and tenant law should be revised and well learnt before going into it. This post will inform you of your rights when it comes to entering your own property, if it is being rented out, and the steps which you can take if you feel your tenants are becoming unreasonable.
Landlord and Tenant Rights: Entering Without Permission
Once the contracts have been signed and the tenancy agreement has gone through, the landlord has essentially provided the new tenant with exclusive possession to the property. This means that it is up to the tenant to decide who enters the property and it is completely within their own rights to deny anyone entry to the property. Access without permission could be the start of any legal action.
However, the original contracts should state that landlords should be able to enter the property if they feel there is a compulsive need and/or there are any repairs that need to be carried out.
With regards to repairs at the property, there are two statutory rights of access:
Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 – This section states that if 24 hours or more is provided, then landlords have the right to enter the property to carry out both repairs and repair instructions.
Housing Act 1988 – This section states that all tenants must give ‘reasonable facilities’ for repairs to be carried out.
If a landlord decides to enter the property without permission and forces entry, then the tenants will be within their rights to make a claim against the landlord for harassment under the Eviction Act 1977. Permission must be given in writing if the visit is for an extended period of time and the only exception to the law is an emergency crisis, such as a fire or flooding.
Does Unreasonable Behaviour Provide an Exception?
Anti-social and unreasonable behaviour will not provide an exception to the above sections of law, although, a landlord can request a court order if they feel the tenants are being unreasonable. The court order, if accepted and they believe the tenant has been unruly, will provide access to the property or eviction.
Unreasonable behaviour is a term that covers a lot of areas. Some of these include:
- Loud noise
- Access disputes
- Breaches of tenancy – owning pets and property neglect.
- Running a business from the property without permission.
- Criminal behaviour – drug dealing, violence, and gambling dens.
Eviction Laws and Notice to Vacate
If a landlord has threatened legal action and the tenants are ignoring it, then the next step would be to apply for an injunction to gain access to the property.
However, a more common option would be to serve a Section 21. This will repossess the property and is available if the landlord has a written an assured shorthold tenancy or statutory period tenancy agreement, and the deposit has been put in a protection scheme.
A Section 21 will give the tenant 2-months’ notice, minimum, to leave the property although this is not applicable for fixed-term tenants, as they can only be evicted at the end of their tenancy.
They can only be evicted prior to the end of the fixed-term because of reasons such as:
- Unpaid rent
- Anti-social behaviour
- A break clause in the contract
Once the contract has ended, landlords do not need to give a reason to evict a tenant, although they will need the provide the correct amount of notice.