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Thomas
Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Law
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Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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Some time ago, I had a problem with a tenant who has given

Resolved Question:

Some time ago, I had a problem with a tenant who has given me a lot of trouble.

At one point, when he had been very late with his rent and claimed that this was because he was sick, I informed him that I would visit the flat to check if he was still there and to check if he was OK. He wrote back and informed me that he was still there, however, since he had, in writing, broken his word on a number of occasions, I felt that this was not sufficient.
The contract does state that I can enter the flat if I give warning and before entering the flat I also called the police to check I would not be doing anything that could result in my getting into trouble for being on the wrong side of the law. They told me that there would be no problem and gave me a CAD reference number which I still have. I did go to the flat on one occasion when he was not there, walked in to satisfy myself that the property was still occupied and walked out again.
The tenant (who has paid no rent since July and is still in illegal occupation of the the flat) has made a big thing of this and has stated that he intends to take me to court regarding this matter.
I am currently taking him to court for non-payment of rent and, in connection with this, would like to ask several questions:

1. Can there really be any legal comeback for my visiting his flat in the way I did? If yes, how severely?
2. He is intending to raise this issue as part of his defense for non-payment of rent, but I don't think it is relevant to the case in question. Am I correct?
3. He has docked money from the rent claiming it is for the cost of my harassment (he claims I have visited the flat more than once, which I have not), and that this has caused him expense (including, he claims, the cost of a hidden security camera) and he has docked £100 without my agreement for cleaning (I did tell him in writing that if he would send me a receipt, I would pay £30 towards the cost of a cleaner when he had just moved in, but he has never provided this). Can he really use this as part of his defense in court?


Simon
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.
Hi Simon

Thanks for your patience.

I think he’s just cobbled together a defence which is not very convincing.

Usually, tenancy agreements allow the landlord to enter the property for the purpose of ensuring that the tenant is complying with the tenant covenants under the Tenancy. I presume this is the form of clause that you are referring to.

1) Provided the right is documented in the tenancy agreement then you should not face any comeback. You were exercising your legal right.
2) Yes, you are correct. A landlord exercising their legal right is not a defence (or mitigation) to non-payment of rent. It’s irrelevant to it.
3) No. Because you were legally allowed (assuming the right is in the tenancy agreement) then he cannot reduce his contractual liability to pay rent because you have done something that you are legally allowed to do.

It’s simply not harassment. He’s either confused, or defending frivolously. Collect what documentary evidence you have. Write down a chronology as an aide-memoire and you will be fine.

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Kind regards,


Tom
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