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Gas Safety - entry without consent or enough notice

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497 views 1 replies latest reply: 28 January 2016

I’m sorry if this has already been covered and please tell me to look elsewhere if it has but I have a concern. Recently contractors working on the behalf of the lettings agents I rent from i’ve discovered have let themselves into the property. They didn’t have my consent and it was assumed by the person who gave them the keys that they did. I have raised this issue to be told that as it was in relation to a safety inspection their initiative should be praised and anyway they don’t have governance over them. Now I’m not an unreasonable person and recognise the need for this inspection but a demand at 8pm the evening before doesn’t constitute a reasonable amount of notice – we asked for another date and the contractor never responded. 

When I mentioned that I wasn’t happy about it and by entering the property it wasn’t in line with my right to quiet enjoyment I have had the following clause in the AST emailed to me:

To allow the Landlord, the Agent, any Superior Landlord, his agent, professional advisers, or authorised contractors to enter the Property with or without workmen and with all necessary equipment. Except in an emergency, the Landlord or the Agent will give the Tenant not less than 24 hours written notice.  The Tenant is only required to allow access when:
the Tenant has not complied with a written notice under clause 4.3 of Schedule 1 of this Agreement and the Landlord or the Agent wishes to enter the Property in accordance with that clause;
the Landlord, the Agent, or an appointed contractor seeks to carry out work for which the Landlord is responsible (those responsibilities are set out in Schedule 2 of this Agreement);
a professional adviser has been appointed by or authorised by the Landlord or the Agent to visit or inspect the Property;
the safety check of the gas appliances is due to take place;
the Landlord or the Agent wishes to inspect the Property
to comply with statute and the proper request of any statutory body

I don’t believe that their use of this clause is fair – am I right in thinking that? Is this something that means they won’t have to seek consent in the future? 
I don’t believe that the fact they forgot to schedule in the inspection with enough notice can be classed as an emergency? (I’ve only been there 1 month so it could’ve been done before I moved in)
I don’t believe that basically telling me that they have no control over their contractors lets them off the hook for giving out the keys?

I would like an apology from them and an assurance it won’t happen again but I would really appreciate your advice on whether or not I have any hope of that!

I have a list of outstanding repairs and to be honest do feel the need to start taking a stand- it’s getting really stressful and this just took it to a whole other level… We need to respect each other and be fair and reasonable – I don’t think that’s too much to ask. 

Sorry for the lengthy post!! Thank you in advance for any help!!

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Hi Evie

I’m not a lawyer but the way that clause reads ‘the tenant is only required to allow access’ indicates to me that they still need your consent – the tenancy still requires you to allow it rather than it being allowed without you being mentioned. Otherwise it would say something like ‘landlord can access without consulting tenant in the following circumstances.’ No?

That clause is probably designed to ensure the landlord can enter the property to carry out repairs etc as is their right in law (Housing Act I think). But that right is subject to your right of quiet enjoyment, which is why the law requires consent and notice. No landlord can simply walk into a property when they like – what would be the point of paying for exclusive possession if they could do that? (exclusive possession is what your tenancy entitles you to). Any clause which authorises the landlord to go in whenever he likes will be void under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.

From my reading of it, the law is quite clear on this – 24 hours notice AND tenant consent for any entry to the property at all, other than a genuine emergency. An emergency would be something like a fire or a burst pipe. Unfortunately I don’t think this agent understands his or her tenancy agreement. If the landlord does not have a right for him/her – or anyone working for him/her such as the agent or people employed or contracted by the agent – to enter, and does not have consent, then they could be tresspassing and you can sue for that. If they do it repeatedly then it could be harassment and that’s a criminal offence.

If you want to get some legal advice on this then it might be worth speaking to someone at Citizens Advice or a law centre. This article is aimed at landlords and specifically says that you need consent and notice in this kind of situation so perhaps it might be worth forwarding that to the agent to point out the true meaning of the tenancy clause they have sent you..


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