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What are a Landlord's Rights to View a Property When Occupied?

If you're a landlord who handles your own lettings, you'll likely need to conduct viewings with potential tenants. While this is simple with an empty property, it can be trickier with a current tenant. In this case, there are legal requirements to ensure your tenant's right to quiet enjoyment isn't breached, and you must obtain permission to enter.

This blog answers common questions about landlord viewing rights and provides 10 ways to protect yourself during viewings.

Can Landlords Conduct Viewings While a Property is Occupied?

Yes, you can conduct viewings while a tenant occupies the property. However, there are laws you must follow, including providing notice, gaining permission, and not asking the tenant to leave during the viewing.

Do Landlords Need Permission for Viewings?

Absolutely. Even with a viewing clause in your tenancy agreement, tenants can refuse a viewing (due to inconvenient times) or deny access entirely. If they refuse access, the viewing cannot proceed.

How Much Notice Do Landlords Need to Give for Viewings?

The Housing Act 1988 requires at least 24 hours' written notice (text or email is ideal) before a viewing. This provides a record of permission or attempted access in case of future disputes.

The 24-hour notice also applies to other property visits, like health and safety inspections or repairs. The only exception is a serious emergency, like a gas leak or fire.

10 Ways to Protect Yourself During Viewings

While legal compliance and professionalism are important, consider the risk of meeting strangers and giving them property access. Here are 10 ways to protect yourself, your property, and your tenants during viewings:

  1. Verify Notice to Leave: Ensure you've received the proper notice from the tenant before scheduling viewings.

  2. Provide 24-Hour Written Notice: Give written notice (as per your agreement) to the existing tenant and obtain permission before entering. Remember, they can refuse viewings during tenancy.

  3. Never Ask Existing Tenants to Show the Property: This is a safety risk, as you have a duty of care towards your tenant.

  4. Inform Someone About the Viewing: If you'll be alone, let a friend, colleague, or partner know about the appointment time and ask them to check on you after 15 minutes.

  5. Request ID from Prospective Tenants: Ask for photo ID (driver's license or passport) to verify their identity.

  6. Ensure Property Security: Arrive early to avoid revealing alarm codes or security measures.

  7. Prioritize Your Safety: During the viewing, try to avoid situations where the tenant is between you and the room's exit. Always have a clear escape route in mind.

  8. Get to Know the Prospective Tenant: Ask questions about their work, lifestyle, and current housing situation.

  9. Explain Referencing: Explain your referencing process and ensure they're happy to provide the necessary documentation.

  10. Trust Your Gut: If you feel uncomfortable being alone with a prospective tenant or have doubts about their suitability, politely end the viewing early.


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