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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 65034
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Hello there, Hoping that somebody will be able to help out

Customer Question

Hello there,
Hoping that somebody will be able to help out with our dilemma, here's the situation:-

Our property has been rented out for the last 4 months under a standard 1 year AST. The tenants wanted to move out after 6 months and we allowed for this due to a number of issues within the property (vermin, gap in bedroom window, garage door faulty, leak in shower). Over the last months we have rectified all of the issues. We were flexible and allowed them to exit the 1 year AST and allowed them to leave the property after 6 months providing they give 2 months notice as per the AST.
They have now given their notice and are due to move out on the 9th August 2013. We have now decided to sell the place and would like to get the agents in to draw up floor plans, take photos etc. We also want to get prospective buyers in asap (obviously with at least 24h notice to the tenant as per the AST).
With this new information, we have received an email from the tenant (via the lettings agent) as follows:-
"Good morning Hammad,
Please do not forward my contact details onto other agencies. I have previously stated I do not wish to wish to disturb our baby's routine and ask my wife to keep the house in a constant state of readiness for viewings.
When we last discussed this back in late March and further during early April I had proposed a full 6 week period where Amy and baby would vacateXXXXXto allow you as many viewing you could arrange.
Both yourself and the landlord rejected this and since that time we have further endured 2 months of a fly infestation caused by a pre-existing rat problem at the property. We have also had up to a dozen individual visits by workmen to assess and later fix issues with the property (I believe we are due our 4th rentokil visit today for the rat issue).
With this in mind I feel very strongly that we have had enough disturbances and I once again would request you respect our right to quiet enjoyment of the property during our remaining tenancy.
To be completely clear, we have had a torrid time at xxxxxxxxxxxxxx (address x'd out - Ket) and I am not prepared to add further to this with viewings during the last weeks of our tenancy. Please do not pass on my details to other agents and do not enter the property without first obtaining our consent.
Regards,
Dan. "

Since we need to get the property on the market to sell now, the questions are:-

- can the tenant demand this and request his 'right to quiet enjoyment'?
- can we by law (the AST that he signed has a clause in there stating this) demand access to the property with 24hours advance notice?
- the agents have keys, in order to show prospective buyers round can they just go in to my property providing they have given 24h notice?
- What if they have left the place in a tip when the prospective buyers come around?
- What else could you suggest we could do to move forward with the sale?

Thanks in advance,

Best regards,

Ket
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Sorry for the delay you've experienced.

So, in short, the tenant won't let you in to do viewings.?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jo,
Thanks for your reply.

Yes, in short they are intending to not let us in to do viewings for the remainder of their tenancy . Can they do that?

Best regards,

Ket
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Thanks

When should the AST end?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Tenancy started on 9th Feb. 6 months will be 9th August.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the information.

If this is an AST then you are entitled to 'reasonable access'. Whatever the tenant's circumstances nothing will change that. His family arrangements are not your problem. If he wants an oasis of peace then he has to buy a mortgaged house like everybody else.

What is 'reasonable' access is always a matter of fact and degree but generally speaking courts would accept that it includes access to the property in the last month of the tenancy agreement to arrange viewings.

Apart from anything else you are entitled to inspect the house by arrangement anyway so his wife would have to bear the inconvenience of that.

On your specific points

1 No, see above.

2 You should really give 48 hours notice by received means. You could rely on the 24 hours in the contract but I wouldn't suggest it.

3 Not immediately. That would be trespass. You have to give the tenant at least three opportunities to arrange a viewing before letting yourself in and even then it does carry danger.

4 Tenant do that sometimes. There's not a great deal that can be done about that except to explain that it is tenanted. The tenants wouldn't be there when they take over anyway.

5 If you have a completely unco-operative tenant then ultimately the only option is to evict them and then sell.

You can seek injunctions forcing them to let you in but its expensive generally.

I'm very sorry if this is bad news.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Jo,


 


Thanks for your answer. Could you please elaborate on the Q and A below:-


Q. the agents have keys, in order to show prospective buyers round can they just go in to my property providing they have given 24h notice?


A. Not immediately. That would be trespass. You have to give the tenant at least three opportunities to arrange a viewing before letting yourself in and even then it does carry danger.


 


Would this be ok to do as long as we have given 48hours notice? Also, just for your reference - they signed the AST with the following clause in the contract:-


‘1.23 – Permit the Landlord or Landlords agents to visit the premises for the purpose of viewing with prospective purchasers or tenants by prior notice during the last 8 weeks of the tenancy.’


 


If you could please review and provide comments on the mail below that I intend to send to the tenants, I would be very grateful, and more than happy to provide a Excellent Service review.


 


“Dear XXXXX,


 


Thank you for your last email on Friday 7th June. We have since sought legal advice, and as you have signed the AST at the beginning of February 2013, as per clause 1.23 below we are entitled to ‘reasonable access’. This by law is unfortunately irrespective of your personal circumstances or your family arrangements.


 


‘1.23 – Permit the Landlord or Landlords agents to visit the premises for the purpose of viewing with prospective purchasers or tenants by prior notice during the last 8 weeks of the tenancy.’


 


‘Reasonable' access is always a matter of fact and degree but courts would accept that this includes access to the property in the last 2 months of the tenancy agreement to arrange viewings further strengthened by clause 1.23 in the signed AST. I would suggest in future that if you want peace and a right to quiet enjoyment then you would need to seriously consider buying a mortgaged house like everybody else.


 


However, we do not want to disrupt your childs routine and therefore we would like to identify suitable times, and are willing to compromise by giving you 48hours notice by email and phone, and also your choice of days and time slots as stated below.


 



  1. Which 3 days out of 7 would be convenient for the tenants to arrange viewings?

  2. Which 2 time slots on those 3 days – at least 1 time slot early evening before 7pm?


 


We feel this gives plenty of leeway in terms of the tenancy agreement and your family arrangements. Once agreed, we will pass this information onto the selling agents. If we have not heard back within 48hours to this email we will assume that 48hours notice is sufficient for any viewings commencing on 9th June as per clause 1.23 of the AST.


 


Yours sincerely......”


 


Thanks in advance,


 


Best regards,


 


Ket

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
No.

Just because you give 48 hours notice doesn't mean that you can enter whether the tenant agrees or not.

You have to offer the tenant at least three opportunities before you can even think about entering whether the agree or not and even then its always dangerous.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the same reply as before but you did not review my email to the tenant as requested. Can you do this please?


 


Regards,


 


Ket

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
I really wouldn't send that. It will just inflame the situation. He will take offence to the suggestion that he should buy a mortgaged house and dig his heels in.

The first point to make though is that this is not legal advice. This is a question and answer site for general information. In fairness, I've havent had full vision of the situation here and so it would be dangerous to rely upon any of our answers as it could upon the advice of a solicitor who is in possession of the information.

The second really is this. There is never any point in quoting law in this type of situation. However brilliantly you argue he is not going to agree with you. There is no harm in referring to the contract but it would be better to just say that you are entitled to reasonable access and are willing to co-operate with him by offering a selection of dates. Then you cannot be accused of being unreasonable.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 65034
Experience: Over 5 years in practice.
Jo C. and other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the advice.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
No problem.

All the best.

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