No – a landlord can write conditions into the tenancy agreement that state that the tenant must keep the property tidy and presentable but these conditions are probably unenforceable as the landlord is dictating how the tenant should live.
One possible exception to this is if the property was so untidy or cluttered to constitute a health and safety risk.
Consideration also needs to be given to varying interpretations of ‘tidy’ and what might be classed as tidy to one person may be classed as untidy to another.
Finally landlords need to consider the covenant for quiet enjoyment wherby tenants are entitled to live in the property without interference from the landlord or anyone acting on his behalf (such as his letting agent) so a landlord dictating to the tenant how and when to tidy the property may be a breach of this covenant.
To reflect this, our periodic inspection reports clearly state:
We respect the fact that during a tenancy the property is the tenant’s home and how they choose to live is their choice. The periodic inspection is NOT intended as a check of the tidiness of the tenant’s belongings, furnishings or equipment within the property. Periodic inspections are of a generally superficial nature and are neither an inventory check nor a survey. Also, we do not inspect under or behind anything that is the property of the tenant nor under or behind any appliance, equipment or furnishings that are the property of the landlord.
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