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They can't let themselves into my home like this, can they?

(42 Posts)
GoGlobalGloria Mon 21-Nov-16 17:53:17

Had a letter from letting agent to say the gas safety check is due. Been here five years and my landlord (who is lovely) usually arranges this without the letting agent involved as it is cheaper for him.

The tone of the letter is quite nasty. Apparently the engineer will be coming on Friday and will have keys to let himself in. He has apparently tried several times to contact me (he hasn't) but has had no response.

I am very unhappy about a total stranger letting himself into my home, particularly as I won't be here on Friday. The landlord is unhappy about it too, he knows nothing about it and wants to use his own bloke as usual.

Before I send an angry email, just want to make sure I can legally refuse this? I know the gas safety check is a legal requirement and I am not intending to refuse to have one. I just want it at a convenient time when I am at home, and my landlord wants it to be someone he has authorised.

Nanny0gg Mon 21-Nov-16 17:55:06

I would have thought it was up to your landlord to discuss with his agent as he isn't happy.

But yes, you can insist on being present, just don't be inflexible as to when.

HallowedMimic Mon 21-Nov-16 17:55:18

Speak to the agent, they've probably made a mistake.

fruityb Mon 21-Nov-16 17:55:22

I'm pretty certain legally you can. I always had to give permission to the letting agent for this when I had them. They never ever tried to just send someone without my say so.

I'm almost certain as tennant you have the right to say no.

AWaspOnAWindowInAHeatwave Mon 21-Nov-16 17:56:52

AFAIK your contract is with the lettings agency as is the landlord's contract, so although you might not be able to refuse, the landlord can refuse if he wishes to use his own guy. All he needs to do is provide a copy of the certificate to the lettings agent.

MaidOfStars Mon 21-Nov-16 17:57:04

I think access can be done without permission if it is on safety grounds. However, I thought this might apply to emergency-only situations - gas leak, water flooding etc.

Can your landlord not intervene and tell the agents he will arrange it?

SocksRock Mon 21-Nov-16 17:57:29

The landlord needs to contact the agency and tell them he hasn't authorised this and won't be paying for it. I would be surprised if they bother after that.

Also email them and say that under no circumstances are they to access your house.

Can you ask the landlord if you can change one of the locks? A new barrel for a Yale type lock is cheap and there videos and tutorials on the internet to show you how to do it.

A relative of mine worked for a Housing Association and on more than one occasion had to obtain a court order to gain access for the gas safety check when the tenant refused so you absolutely can refuse. They can only enter in an emergency (gas leak, water leak, fire etc) without your consent or a court order.

Meadows76 Mon 21-Nov-16 17:57:49

the landlord is unhappy about it too, he knows nothing about it and wants to use his own bloke as usual. this is between the landlord and the agency. What is landlord doing about it? He pays the agency to manage his property. He can decide what they manage and what he manages.

Hissy Mon 21-Nov-16 17:58:16

Not a single soul can enter your home if you don't want them to.

Ok, emergency services/police yes, but 3rd party companies? No.

Is it GasElec? I've had issues with their tone before. Remind them that your home is your home and they need your permission to enter.

baconandeggies Mon 21-Nov-16 17:58:35

Either a mistake or the lettings people being sneaky. Tell them that Friday is impossible for you, and tell the LL to give them a bollocking. They work for HIM!

SaucyJack Mon 21-Nov-16 18:02:35

I don't know how it works with private lettings, but councils have the legal right to break in to do gas safety checks. It's possibly the same right of entry for you.

Can you get a friend to sit in at yours when he's due to come.

Trifleorbust Mon 21-Nov-16 18:03:37

They can't let themselves into your home unless it is an emergency without your permission. Feel free to say no, the appointment will need to be arranged for a mutually convenient time. The dispute over who does the work is between your LL and the agent.

PaulDacresConscience Mon 21-Nov-16 18:11:39

Tenancy agreements will usually say 24 hours notice. So if the agency have given you at least 24 hours notice then they can enter. However they can only do so with the LL permission - and if the LL isn't happy about it then you can tell them to do one.

nellieellie Mon 21-Nov-16 18:13:22

No, the landlord has the right to access, but as a tenant, you have the right to 'quiet enjoyment' of the property. If I were you, I'd write/email the agency, pointing out that the engineer has not been in touch and this is the first you've heard. You are, of course, entirely happy for the engineer to come, but at a mutually convenient time, and when you are present. For a total stranger to let himself into your home when you are not present and without your permission constitutes a breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment. Suggest that the engineer, or the agency contacts you eith a view to arranging an appointment. Give them a number. Important to put all in writing. But check what the landlord is proposing. If he doesn't want this other guy to come round, why isn't he in touch with the agency?

Trifleorbust Mon 21-Nov-16 18:14:58

Even with 24 hours notice you are only obliged not to refuse 'unreasonably' - they still can't let themselves in if you say no, however unreasonable you are being. The onus is then on them to take legal action, and they won't get anywhere if you are offering them an alternative.

PenguinsandPebbles Mon 21-Nov-16 18:16:05

If it's a private home they cannot legally let themselves in your home without your consent, insist they confirm in writing that they will not be giving your keys to anybody and in your email correspondence categorically state you do not give permission for them to enter your home without you being there and that the date they have stated is not convenient. The gas safety check does have to be done though so you do have to be fairly flexiable as it's a legal requirement.

I would be home at the planned time though and keep a chain or bolt lock on and then refuse access.

I had a similar situation many years ago, I had said before moving in nobody was to enter without me being there, I asked for something to be looked at on a Friday morning nothing urgent and recieved an email saying someone would be looking at it on the Monday at 12 and not to worry they would give them keys.

I contacted them to say it wasn't acceptable to give out keys and they agreed confirmed it was an error and that they wouldn't give the keys to anybody and that it could be rescheduled for the Tuesday at a time I could be home. Only they had given this man the keys, he had access to my home all weekend and merrily tried to let himself in at 4pm on the Sunday whilst i was in the bath.

I then "locked" myself out and had an emergency locksmith come out who had to change the locks, I informed them but forgot to send them a copy which I'm glad I did as the same thing happened again three times, only thing that gave me peace of mind in the property.

EleanorRigby123 Mon 21-Nov-16 18:19:52

When was the last safety check carried out? You should have a copy of the certificate which is valid for 12 months. If it has lapsed you, the letting agent and the landlord have been negligent. The ultimate responsibility lies with the landlord but in the event of legal action he would doubtless sue the letting agency - as they should have arranged things in a timely manner. That is what they will be worried about. Suggest you either call and rearrange for a time that suits you or get a friend to house sit for you. It is in your interests to get it done. Very odd that they claim to have asked on a number of previous occasions.

WLF46 Mon 21-Nov-16 18:22:04

Unfortunately tenants rarely have the right to stop access in the situation you describe. It would depend on your contract of course, but they usually have a clause saying something along the lines of "the tenant will allow access at a reasonable hour for the landlord or agent (or someone appointed by them) for the purposes of examining the condition of the property, making repairs or carrying out legal requirements." They usually also say that they only have to give 24 hours notice, except in an emergency (ie, if it's an emergency in their opinion they don't have to give notice at all).

You might be able to fight it by saying the time is not convenient, but not prevent it happening altogether. You have a right to "quiet enjoyment" (ie, the landlord can't let himself in whenever he likes for no valid reason) but this would not extend to the current situation, unless they were trying to gain access to your home every couple of weeks.

When does the annual safety check fall due? If it expires on Friday, they legally have to do the inspection by then.

You could take the landlord/agent to court if they were harassing you, but on the evidence you provided they are not doing that - just going about their business in an unfriendly and nasty manner. It's the agency's business, they don't give a damn that it's your home.

Tenancy agreements are heavily biased against the tenant, because the landlord and agent know they can get away with it.

It's shit, but there you go. Sorry.

HelenaDove Mon 21-Nov-16 18:23:42

Eleanor its not unusual at all. Ive seen many complaints about several no shows from gas engineers and it being blamed on the tenants.

HelenaDove Mon 21-Nov-16 18:27:01

A fb review.

"Well Liberty Gas you've surpassed yourself this time! 8.30am I was awoken to bailiffs hammering the door down as we'd allegedly denied access to you on several occasions. WTF!?! Bailiffs and Council retreated apologetically when CCTV proved you had NOT been when you claimed. I even have emails as proof! I am a disabled tenant with a young child. Can you imagine how frightening this situation was when still half asleep? How dare you! I've lived here for 20yr and only had problems for the last five....ever since LG won the contract. Do not label me as a POS just because I live in social housing. How are you guys still in business? LOOK AT YOUR REVIEWS!! Leicester County Council/Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council WAKE UP to the clowns you are employing. Roll on 11am when Liberty Gas are meant to be turning up to service the 25yr old fire & back boiler (Watch this space for an update people!). Believe me when I say this as I mean it 100% ~ HEADS WILL ROLL FOR THIS INCOMPETENCE! "

Rainbunny Mon 21-Nov-16 18:28:16

I'm curious as to why your landlord seems so powerless in this situation? The letting agent surely can't dictate things to the landlord? If the landlord wants a particular person to conduct the check then he should be able to decide who he uses NOT the letting agents. I hope your landlord gets into it with them and sorts it out.

Trifleorbust Mon 21-Nov-16 18:29:11

It doesn't depend on the tenancy agreement. Tenancy agreements (like any contract) cannot specify things which are illegal. People cannot let themselves into a private residence without the permission of the occupant unless it is an emergency. There is a right of reasonable access to inspect the property etc., but the tenant has the right to refuse on reasonable grounds and reschedule.

PenguinsandPebbles Mon 21-Nov-16 18:31:25

Actually a tenant has every right to refuse access.

The 24 hours notice is an implied term and therefore if a tennant refuses the landlord or agent cannot just simply enter, they would have to go to court and get a court order to get access to the property.

It is however not wise to do this constantly but legally a tennant does not have to allow anyone into the property.

thisisafakename Mon 21-Nov-16 18:41:07

Are you sure that the tone is 'nasty'? Why would it be? Usually the letting agents will just inform you of this so that you know it's taking place (because it has to take place) and that you don't need to be in.

But all of this can just be sorted by the landlord calling the letting agency. Why is paying them to manage it when he clearly already deals with you directly and has his own tradespeople? Seems like a huge waste of money to me.

HelenaDove Mon 21-Nov-16 18:44:53

He claims he tried to call OP several times but hasnt.

I think lying is nasty.

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