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I am at the last month of tenancy. My landlord has been arranging viewings at very short and inconvenient notice (and not particularly asking nicely for permission either, but mostly informing me of the fact they will be walking into the house at a certain time, just so I'm aware). Today it was 2.5 hours notice, and I only happened to see the message by chance.

I asked that from now on I expect the legal 24 hour notice for any future viewing requests. They replied simply to say:

as per your contract, the 24 hour notice rule does not apply in the last month of tenancy:

▪ To permit the Premises to be viewed at all reasonable times (including weekends) during the final month of theTenancy, following a prior request by the Agent, wishing to view the Premises with a prospective tenant.

Is this loophole legal under UK law? My own interpretation of the unqualified term "prior request" would be that the legality of the 24 hour rule is still implied, rather than overruled. Is the contract even valid on such a point?

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These articles (#1 (and read the comments too), #2) seem to suggest that there is a bit of a grey area here.

On the one hand, tenants have the right to "quiet enjoyment", which (among other things) means that the landlord cannot enter the property without the tenants' permission, except in case of dire emergency. So if you say no, the landlord (or their letting agent) cannot enter.

On the other hand, tenancy agreements typically require the tenant to allow access for repairs, inspections and viewings, given 24 hours' notice (or possibly less).

So which of these rights has precedence? Opinion appears to be divided. The landlord's viewpoint in the above articles is that if the tenant says no, the landlord should respect that. The landlord could try to evict the tenant for breach of contract, but if they're leaving anyway, that's not much of a threat!

(Incidentally, one of the articles points out that if the landlord has given notice to the tenant (but not the other way around), they cannot guarantee when the last month will be, as the tenant can continue to live in the property (and pay rent) until a court orders them to leave.)

The message seems to be that the tenant and landlord should try and come to some arrangement, but if the tenant refuses to co-operate, then the landlord shouldn't push any further - though this may make it hard for you to get a reference from the landlord, should you ever need one.

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer or housing expert. If in doubt, speak to someone who is.

  • hi, thank you for your answer, which is interesting food for thought, but i dont think it answers the main question. there is no intention to deny access to the landlord / agent. there is every intention to hold them accountable to the 24h rule as prescribed by law. the question is whether the claim that "this law is effectively circumvented by the wording in the contract", is a valid claim or not (both in terms of whether it is possible to circumvent a law in the first place, and in terms of whether that particular wording achieves that effect if that is the case) – user26221 Jun 15 at 15:06
  • @user26221: The law has nothing to say about how long the notice period should be, so there is no question of the law being circumvented. If specific terms of the tenancy agreement breach quiet enjoyment, then those terms are invalid, and it's up to the tenant to decide whether or not to let the landlord in. If the terms don't breach quiet enjoyment, then the tenant must abide by them, or face being evicted - which is meaningless if you're planning to leave anyway. So you could interpret that to mean that you can insist that they give 24 hours' notice. – Steve Melnikoff Jun 15 at 15:16
  • @user26221: next time you rent, it might be worth checking the tenancy agreement in advance, and crossing out a term like this - though of course the landlord/agent could refuse to let to you if they're not happy with this! – Steve Melnikoff Jun 15 at 15:19
  • You can do more than insist on 24 hours notice. You can refuse to accept any viewings whatsoever. You are not required to accommodate viewings. – Owain Jun 15 at 17:39

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