Estate agents and inspections(33 Posts)
We've been living in a privately rented property for two years now with the estate agents doing an inspection every 3 months. This is fine (however annoying), I've been here every time they've visited.
The next inspection is due and on the day, I'm not available, but according to the estate agents, I don't need to be there as they have a key and will let themselves in. This does not sit right with me. The though of a stranger going through my home, not to mention the possibility of theft (unlikely, but not impossible).
WIBU to send an email stating that no one is to enter the property without me being present and that a suitable time and date needs to arranged beforehand not a generic 'between 9am and 5pm'?
I also want to tell them that I'm not happy that they're willing to give a key to my property to people such as the gas man incase we're not in. Surely that can't be right?
They cannot let themselves in without your consent, irrespective of what your contract says. Send the email.
Yes email them stating this so it is in writing. My estate agents will just rearrange fir a time when i can be there.
I used to be an agent, you are within your right to refuse, just offer a suitable alternative soon after and make sure it's in writing. Follow it up with a phone call reiterating your email. All you need to say is you'd prefer to be home and you don't give consent for entry in your absence due to this.
They can give you time slots as they probably do it by area but you can ask for it to be narrowed down which is reasonable.
Can I just add that whilst annoying that estate agents have to do an inspection every three months, it's in both yours and the landlords interest to do them (i.e. If things need to be done, then they are highlighted).
Being a landlord myself, I know that my Buildings insurance also states these need to take place to make the insurance valid.
MotherFeeder I completely understand why they're necessary. I just don't feel comfortable with strangers being able to let themselves in my house when I'm not there.
I understand that estate agents have a set of keys but to give a set to a gas man of some other tradesman can't be right surely?
They can with your consent but would need it first. If it's an emergency, they can go in if necessary, if you're not home and they can't reach you and need to limit damage - this should be in your tenancy agreement.
Emergencies fair enough but they do it as standard:
The annual Gas and Electric Safety Inspection is due at the property. I have organised for our contractor, to do this. He will have our key, so there is no need to wait in for him.
^^ That is what is said in the letter emailed to me.
We've just been through this with our letting agent. They do inspections every three months, which I have no problem with, but they always used to tell me 'agency keys will be used to gain access' and I'd always email back saying I didn't permit unsupervised access (I say it's because we have pets - but, really, just: no, this is our home, you won't just let yourself in unless it's an emergency!). I stay home to let the inspector in.
After three years, they seem to have got the message, and have dropped the bit about wandering in at their own convenience... but now they give us barely any notice of inspections, and say crap like 'the property inspector will ONLY be in your area TOMORROW, so we require you to provide access'. Our previous inspection was given with less than 24 hours notice, and I've told them if this happens again I just won't be able to provide access on the date requested. They've completely ignored my email, but that's fine: it's on record.
Be firm, polite, but don't let them railroad you. It's more convenient for agents to give inspectors/contractors free access - but you're paying rent and your landlord is paying them for a service, so if they have to take some time scheduling supervised access then that's part of their job and don't let them persuade you otherwise!
Just keep replying firmly and politely (in writing so you have a record) that you do not want anyone to access the property without you being present and state the times that are convenient to you.
Interesting. I'm in a private let.....Estate agents haven't been round at all and I moved in last June!!
The landlord has popped in once as he was passing and I asked if he wanted to see the whole house and he said no!!
But then I've paid a years rent in advance (£28,000).
MotherFeeder no, agents don't have to do inspections every three months. Yes regular inspections are beneficial for both parties but every three months is over the top (I am also a LL).
OP as advised reply, stating that you do NOT give permission for anyone to enter your home without yourself or one of the other tenants there, at ANY point. Offer a variety of time slots over the next week where you will be home and ask them to let them know which one suits. Then follow this up with a phone call.
You are also legally allowed to change the lock barrel (very cheap and easy to do), as long as you replace the original when you leave.
That email sounds like it's a gas and electric inspection rather than an inspection?
They probably have to get an external contractor in to do this so it might be difficult to arrange a specific time slot.
If it's just gas and electric inspection I doubt they will be interested in your belongings.
Yes that was for the gas man. This is the wording for a general inspection:
'It is not necessary for you to be present. If you have any issues please leave a note in the property, or ring the office prior to your inspection. Unfortunately, due to the number of properties requiring inspection, we are unable to alter dates or timings (unless there are exceptional circumstances). If you are not in, we will use our set of keys'
I had this problem, they seemed to think that because they had a set of keys they could use them whenever.
They can use the keys in an emergency.
I called Shelter and they were brilliant, explained where I stood legally which helped when I dealt with the agents.
Disorganised hair flickers. I arrange my own gas safe and boiler service (half the price of the agent for the same bloke doing more!) But even the agent get in touch six weeks ahead to organise it.
Write to your landlord saying you want and deserve better service and more notice. Regarding inspections of property condition, six months is reasonable and at tenant convenience with plenty of notice.
If agent too thick to use a diary, not your problem.
BTW the rules on access are in the how to rent guide.
As advised OP you need to be firm, email then phone and tell them no, under no circumstances they are NOT to use their own set of keys, and if you find out anyone has entered your home without your permission, the police will be called.
My agents were doing the same, I sent s polite but firm email saying I would not accept any visits, inspections or contractors coming to the property without first giving a maximum 3 hour window (9-12 for example, they used to say they'd be there sometime from 8-7 ) and at a time where either myself or my husband will be home, no one is to enter the property without one or us present unless in an emergency.
They were agreeable and we've never had an issue.
I have been renting my entire adult life and have rarely had more than one LL inspection a year. You are well within your rights to refuse a visit as everyone has said. Just provide alternative times that suit you.
When we moved last our landlords were switching to using a management service, who were also doing the viewings. They were absolutely horrid - arranging viewings at times we specifically asked them not to, and then not letting us know when others had been cancelled when I was waiting in.
They also kept going on about the mess, which was negligible, plus it was our home and we were moving out which takes about half a sentence to explain to anyone viewing.
I feel sorry for whoever took the old place!
If you are not in, we will use our set of keys
Tell them they bloody well won't! They are categorically in the wrong, legally. You also don't have to allow quarterly inspections, annual would be reasonable.
No-one has the right to enter your home without your permission, rented or otherwise, other than in some very limited emergency circumstances.
You are well within your rights to refuse them if you are not able to be there at that time. Send them an email and also follow up with a call and arrange a better time.
Inspections every 3 months are excessive! It's your home at the end of the day and they need to be respecting that. What a pain for you
No, of course it's not necessary.
I hate that worry that they'll simply come anyway. If you have a friendly next-door neighbour, it might be worth asking them to keep an eye out. I work from home a lot and have sometimes asked them not to come when I'm teaching, as I can't be disturbed. In a previous house I did therefore find out that they would simply turn up and try to let themselves in, ignoring emails. Of course your agents may be fine and honest, but not all of them are.
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