Landlords of residential premises often reserve the right in a tenancy agreement to be allowed to have access to the property. This is usually to view the state and condition to ensure that the tenant is keeping the property in good repair.
In a recent case, it was held that a tenant's failure to reply to a letter from the landlord's solicitor requesting access to the property in question, did not amount to a 'refusal' of access under the terms of the tenancy agreement.
The landlord required access to a property and wrote to his tenant on two occasions requesting access. The tenant responded to one letter by email but did not respond again. The landlord claimed that the failure to reply amounted to a breach of the covenant relating to access. The Court held that the tenant was not required to confirm that access was permitted under the terms of the covenant. Accordingly, the landlord should have attempted to enter the premises. Had the tenant refused at that point, the he would probably have been in breach of covenant
This is an important reminder to landlords to ensure that the dates and reason for any access to a property under the tenancy agreement is clearly specified in a letter to the tenant. The landlord should then try to gain access. Only then if access is prevented, will the landlord be able to claim that the tenant is in breach of the terms of his lease.
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