Landlords are legally obligated to give their tenants adequate written notice of at least 24 hours unless agreed with the tenant otherwise, of any intention to visit the property. This also applies to any contractors employed by the landlord to carry out repairs. In some circumstances where the property is an HMO the landlord may be able to access the common areas without written notice although it is good practice to inform the tenants of the visit or provide a schedule of visits (eg. for carrying out regular checks of fire detectors and the shared amenities).
It is important to note that a tenant can legally refuse entry to the property therefore entry must not be made unless permission has been given by the tenant. If the tenant persistently causes delays in providing access to the property which results in an inability for the landlord to fulfil their legal obligations then legal advice must be sought to ensure that the appropriate action is taken. Failure to follow the correct procedure may result in action being brought against you for harassment or illegal eviction.
There are times where the property must be entered as a matter of urgency and statutory bodies are able to do this in appropriate circumstances:
- Gas - contact the National Grid emergency number
- Water - sewer or flooding. Contact the local water company
- Police - where there are suspicious circumstances relating to criminal activity