Forum Spotlight: Gaining access to carry out safety inspection
In this week’s Forum Spotlight, we take a look at a recent question a member posted on our Forum relating to gaining access to his property to carry out a safety inspection.
The landlord was well aware of his obligation that he needed to give the tenant 24 hours notice in writing before entering the property.
After ignoring two previous messages from the landlord regarding inspections, the tenant responded to the requests by texting back that the landlord can ‘check the house whenever’.
The landlord posted on our forum, seeking clarification that this text message meant he now had permission from the tenant to carry out the inspection. He had heard that text messages won’t stand up in court. Keen to ensure he was acting in line with the law, the landlord asked for the advice of other landlords on this matter.
One user on our Forum pointed out that just because the tenant had said the landlord in this case would be free to enter the property ‘whenever’- this does not mean that the landlord can enter whenever they like without giving any sort of notice of a day.
He suggested that this landlord gives at least 24 hours written notice, and waits for the tenant to confirm that this is ok. If the tenant does not refuse, then it is a good idea that the tenant knocks at the door of the property and waits for permission.
The response from our Landlord Advice Team
One of the RLA’s advisors began by confirming that a formal inspection notice must be made 24 hours before the landlord plans to enter the property. The tenant has the right to decline this as they have the right to ‘quiet enjoyment’. (Except for a real emergency)
Notice can include a text message. If the tenant has not declined entry, and the landlord does have keys, then the landlord could go to the property at the day and time stated and knock loudly a few times.
Even if the tenant appears to have given permission to enter then the permission may not be valid at all if you have misled the tenant as to why you want to go in or if you have not informed the tenant about the reasons for access.
If no one answers open the door and shout in stating you are the Landlord and have come to inspect as mentioned. If they decline then keep requesting once a week (too little to be deemed harassment) and make sure to mention the smoke alarms on the notice.
Written by Victoria Barker