A little background
I'm a student renting (short hold) a studio apartment from a private landlord through an estate agent. The term of the contract ends in September of this year. I've had multiple issues with the landlord previously (failing to give proper 24 hour notice for inspections, letting himself in without permission while I was asleep after a 7 hour inspection notice, misrepresenting my legal obligations with regards to entry, threatening to charge me for fumigation because a few flies had come in the window, etc) and I have full email correspondence proving these things. The estate agents did not get heavily involved but the brief contact I had from them indicated they were very much on his side and they also misrepresented the law and the facts of the situation.
This situation came to a head when I refused the landlord entry for an inspection (his notification was insufficient) and responded to his and the agents' accusations that my conduct was improper with a lengthy email to both the landlord and agents asserting my rights and detailing the various ways in which they had not been respected. Neither party responded to that email, though the landlord did acknowledge a repair request I also made within it, so I know he read it. I'm including an extract from that email in which I explicitly state my expectations moving forwards at the bottom of this message.
This was a few months ago, after I sent that email I heard no more from either party and have been left in peace. I now have zero respect or tolerance for the landlord or the agents, and while I will continue to act respectfully and professionally and within the bounds of the contract and law, I fully intend to assert my rights to their fullest capacity and hold them to the law.
Stop waffling, what's happening now?
I just received the following email from the agents:
Dear [me], Just to let you know, we have a viewing at your property tomorrow at 4:30pm. We have keys for access.
This time is particularly inconvenient for me as my current sleep patterns put that in the middle of my night and I would have to do a significant amount of rearranging of my stuff before I'd be willing to have the place be seen. If I can avoid or postpone this I would very much like to, but I will abide by my contractual obligations.
This email was received at 16:07 today, so they're just abiding by the 24 hours notification requirement.
I understand that they may not (with the exception of emergencies) enter without my permission, but that I am required to give permission for a valid request or potentially face consequences.
The actual questions
Does this statement that a viewing WILL be taking place, rather than a request, constitute obtaining my permission?
What happens if I do not reply to this at all, is permission implicitly granted unless explicitly denied?
Does the third expectation I laid out below not count as explicitly denying them entry without obtaining explicit permission from myself?
Can they be conducting viewings already when the contract is not up until September?
If the agents are acting improperly here, is that grounds for me to refuse the viewing?
The line about having keys for access definitely seems to fly in the face of my saying they may never let themselves in without explicit permission.
The expectations I laid out to the landlord and agent
You shall always give, at least, 24 hours notice before demanding entry. I would consider it courteous, as is generally customary, for you to give significantly more.
Scheduled appointments shall have a reasonably short window for your arrival, I would suggest no more than 30 minutes. Merely specifying "the morning" is not sufficient.
With the exception of emergencies as specified by the law, you shall never let yourself into the flat without my express permission. If I am due to be out at the time of your arrival I will let you know this and grant permission for the agreed-upon window of time. Even in these scenarios you will knock first before letting yourself in.
You shall interpret those parts of the contract that are ambiguous with regards to magnitude in a reasonable manner. This is already the standard set out by the law. I feel you have exaggerated the perceived hygiene problem significantly, and to a greater degree every time you've told it.
Any significant discussion regarding these matters or any others is conducted via email or text, with a preference for email. I believe that the written record helps avoid ambiguity and mis-remembering, and is generally beneficial for all parties acting in good faith. I will generally refuse to have these conversations in person for that reason.
You shall not interpret the contract or the law in bad faith. The argument was made that your email was a valid notification and that I had turned you away inappropriately. Whether this was genuinely your and [AGENT]'s belief I do not know
All of the above also applies to any other parties acting on your behalf, [AGENT] included.