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Some background: we're moving out of our apartment soon and the agency has requested to conduct a viewing for a prospective tenant when we're not at home, using the spare key in their possession. We have explicitly said we do not authorize anyone entering our apartment without one of us being present, but this caused me to re-read parts of our contract related to this.

The bit I found interesting is this (emphasis mine):

To allow the Property to be viewed by prior mutually acceptable appointment, at reasonable times, during normal working hours and at weekends, and upon the Tenant being given at least 24 hours’ notice in writing, following a request by any person who is (or is acting on behalf of) the Landlord or the Agent and who is accompanying a prospective purchaser or tenant of the Property.

The reason I found this phrasing strange is the fact a clause just above it (related to conducting repairs) specifically uses the word "enter":

To allow the Landlord, the Agent, any Superior Landlord, his agent, professional advisers, or authorised contractors to enter the Property with or without workmen and with all necessary equipment. [...]

  • Is there any difference between "view[ing the Property]" and "enter[ing] the Property" in this case? Or, more directly, why would they use different wording in two adjacent clauses?

  • The only requirement for a viewing seems to be a "prior mutually acceptable appointment" and, unlike the clause about repairs, it includes no subclauses related to when we are required to allow someone to enter. This seems to imply that, in theory, we could just keep not being able to find an agreeable time and they wouldn't be able to show our apartment to prospective tenants at all, which doesn't seem right. Am I missing something here?

  • The landlord certainly can enter your property without permission in certain circumstances (of which viewing by prospective tenants is not normally one): see this answer. – Tim Lymington Feb 21 '17 at 23:34
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Without hunting through case law, "viewing a property" would probably be given its normal English usage - that is inspecting a property with the object of determining if you want to make an offer to lease or buy it. It would encompass all the normal things that this involves so it goes beyond merely looking at it - pest inspections, building inspections, valuations etc would all be involved.

Yes, you are missing something: you have an obligation under the contract to act reasonably - this is implicit in every contract, however, it can be explicitly excluded. A court would find that "we could just keep not being able to find an agreeable time" is unreasonable behaviour and that you are in breach of your contract.

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