Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Are landlords legally entitled to hold keys to their rented properties?

Here is a question to the blog clinic from Hilary who is a landlord.

I have a secure tenure property. The tenants have been in residence for 74 years.

I haven’t a set of keys to this property. I’ve asked the tenant if I may get a copy cut they’ve refused this request. They are very good tenants in that they have always looked after the property but if repairs are needed I can’t access unless they are there.

Am i legally entitled to hold a set of keys for the purpose outlined? As a secure tenure there is of course no tenancy agreement.


There is no law that I am aware of that entitles the landlord to hold keys to the property. Which is why, if you want to hold keys, this is something that needs to go in the tenancy agreement.

One of the features of a tenancy (which is a type of ownership of land) is that the tenants have the right to exclude the landlord from the property.

This is the case even if the landlord wishes to enter for an authorised purpose such as carrying out repairs.

So even if you are entitled to hold a set of keys under the terms of the tenancy agreement, it will still be trespass and make you liable to a claim for compensation if you use those keys against your tenants wishes.

If these tenants are good tenants then they will no doubt co-operate should you ever need to do major repair work to the property. If they fail to do so, then your only alternative is to get a court order.

The same rules apply for getting the gas safety inspection done, which is why I created the Gas Access Kit which includes instructions for getting an injunction order.

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