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Housing Disrepair: why you should not refuse entry

MJV&Co
by MJV&Co

Refusing entry for repairs

There are many things that arise regularly in housing disrepair claims and landlords claiming tenants refuse entry to undertake repairs is one.

Landlords have the right to enter your property, provided they give reasonable notice to either carry out an inspection or repairs.

Breach of tenancy agreement

As landlords have the right to enter, such a refusal is a breach of a tenancy agreement. If this were to happen regularly, it could lead to eviction. Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 allows evictions on certain, specific grounds. These are found at Schedule 2 of that Act and Ground 12 is that:

“The Tenant has breached any of the terms listed in the tenancy agreement”.

If you are a tenant of a housing association or council, it is likely that the type of tenancy you have would not enable your landlord to evict you using Section 21 of the Act and so eviction is only normally possible when the agreement is breached.

Housing disrepair claim

It is not common for us to encounter a client who has been, or has been threatened with being, evicted for failing to allow entry. Instead, the issue arises in the course of their housing disrepair claim.

A tenant must give notice of any items of disrepair.

For more information on notice requirements, read our guide to this https://www.mjvlaw.co.uk/legal-news/housing-disrepair-notice/

Once notice has been given, the tenant must allow their landlord access to undertake inspection and then undertake any repairs. While it sounds obvious that a tenant would allow entry for repairs they have reported, this is not always the case.

Often, tenants are unhappy with the work that their landlord has proposed. We often encounter landlords who misdiagnose a problem and try and solve it multiple times despite it failing to do so previously. This is common with damp. Landlords inspect and find damp. They treat the walls with damp treatment or paint and consider the problem solved. When it reappears, they return and apply the same treatment. In one case, the landlord did this five times.

It is not unreasonable for a tenant to be frustrated by such behaviour. Such landlords are clearly in breach of their repairing obligations under Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. As of 20 March 2020, they are also likely to be in breach of them under the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 also.

However, to refuse access remains a breach of the tenant’s responsibilities and would provide the landlord with a defence to any claim.

What to do instead

If you have a housing disrepair issue and your landlord fails to address it correctly, contact MJV Solicitors for help.

Even when we are involved, we advise our clients to allow access and to ensure that they comply with the tenancy agreement.

If, as in the example above, your landlord has failed to properly investigate an issue and undertaken inadequate repairs, we can help. We will instruct a specialist surveyor to attend the property and prepare an expert report. It is extremely common for it to be revealed that there was a more serious, underlying problem that the landlord had chosen to ignore or missed entirely.

If a landlord continues to carry out inadequate repairs it is unlikely that these would disguise the true problem and so there is nothing to gain for a tenant by refusing entry.

False allegations

It is also common for us to act for clients who are accused of refusing entry, but deny this. The truth varies from case to case:

  • We have acted for clients who have been at home waiting for workmen and there has been no knock at the door. Later, they noticed that a card had been pushed through claiming that they had “missed them”. They called their landlord to explain, but nobody came a second time. This has happened far more than once;
  • We have acted for clients whose landlords claimed to have made appointments of which our clients had no idea so did not stay in; and
  • Many of our clients are vulnerable and so when workmen arrive without valid photographic ID they, quite rightly, refuse entry.

Landlords we have made claims about have all used these as excuses for trying to refuse claims. We support and help our clients and so tend to succeed with such claims.

Your claim

MJV Solicitors are based near Blackpool,but serve all of England and Wales for housing disrepair claims and have clients from the Isle of Wight, to South Wales to the North East. If you think you may have a claim, call us today on 01253 858231 or e-mail michael.vincent@mjvlaw.co.uk for a free, no obligation discussion.

If we accept your claim it will be on a no win no fee basis and, in addition to the repairs we can require your landlord to undertake, we can obtain you compensation.

For more on compensation and how it is calculated, read our guide https://www.mjvlaw.co.uk/legal-news/housing-disrepair-compensation/