If you need to gain access to your rented property for any given reason, for example, to do a gas certificate or to show potential new tenants the property, but your tenant does not grant you permission to enter, you first need to get permission from the tenant and until given you are not legally permitted to gain entry without their express permission.
This may seem strange logic; after all, you are the owner, and they are simply renting, but a tenant has very strong occupancy rights and has the same rights to “quiet enjoyment” as they would if they owned the property on which they live. In other words, if you force them to grant you entry you may face a harassment charge even though the Landlord and Tenant act section 11 states that the tenant must allow you entry to the property for necessary repairs and maintenance.
What you should do
The long and short of it is that if they do not grant you access, you need to threaten to get a court order for “access” and then apply to the courts to do just that. Normally, your tenant will then grant you access to do the necessary inspection or repairs.
What you should not do
If you want to stay legally above board, under no circumstances do any of the following:
- Gain entry by force as you risk harassment or worse, an assault charge
- Have their services suspended such as gas or electricity because you will be infringing on their rights to “quiet enjoyment”
- Enter the property while your tenants are away without permission – if you do this you could be charged with trespassing.
If your tenants are not paying their rent and you need to evict them, read our advice on what to do if your tenant won’t pay the rent.