Firstly consider the legal rights and responsibilities of the landlord and tenant and any relevant contractual obligations defined in the tenancy agreement:

  • Legal – a tenant is entitled to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the property. This covenant is not referring to noise but freedom from any substantial interference with the ordinary and lawful enjoyment of the property.
  • Contractual – conditions within the tenancy agreement will reinforce the landlords responsibility to allow the tenant quiet enjoyment. The tenancy agreement will usually have a condition that refers to the protocol for viewings such as:

Upon at least 24 hours’ notice in writing, allow the Landlord or his Agent, or those authorised by the Landlord, access to view the Property, at all reasonable times, accompanying a prospective tenant or purchaser of the Property and ensure that the electricity and gas is kept on, the Property is kept in a tidy and presentable condition and the Property is kept warm during viewing periods.

A tenant can reasonably decline access for a viewing if the date/day/time is not convenient but denying all access for viewings is unreasonable and would be in breach of any relevant conditions of the tenancy.

What to do

1. Check the terms of your tenancy agreement for conditions relevant to viewings.

2. Contact the estate agent and remind them that you are entitled to quiet enjoyment of the property, remind them what the protocol is for viewings as defined in your tenancy agreement and ask them to respect your rights and the conditions of the tenancy. To facilitate access for viewings, suggest dates, days or times when viewings can or cannot take place. In extreme situations, suggest the estate agent carries out group viewings to lessen the interference.

In our experience estate agents do not check the tenancy agreement, have little or no knowledge of landlord or tenant rights and responsibilities and have little respect for tenants – they want to sell the property and bank their commission as soon as possible. {this may not be the case for all estate agents but certainly the case for estate agents we have dealt with}

Further Reading

What amounts to harassment by a landlord? {Hodge Jones & Allen solicitors article}

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