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Rights to access a property


Alice emailed our Landlord Advice service recently as she would like to carry out an inspection but her tenant has refused to facilitate this.

The tenant has been living in the property for over a year and Alice wants to check that it is being well maintained.

Alice also needs to renew her insurance as a landlord and one of the requirements is that she carries out an annual inspection of the property.


How Landlord Advice helped

Our adviser explained to Alice that, a tenant shouldn’t unreasonably refuse access to a property for the purpose of an inspection and Alice can ask the tenant to suggest a date and time that would be convenient for them. Even if a tenancy agreement states that a tenant must allow the landlord access to carry out an inspection, before calling to the property, a landlord must

  • give at least 24 hours’ notice 
  • explain the purpose of the visit 
  • get permission from the tenant

Entering the property without the consent of the tenant, except in an emergency, can be considered a form of harassment.

If the tenant repeatedly refuses access to the property, the landlord can advise the tenant that this is potentially a breach of the tenancy terms and could lead to the tenancy being terminated. A landlord also has the option of applying for a court order to oblige the tenant to facilitate access on a specified date and time. Alice didn’t want to end the tenancy or go to court but was becoming very annoyed as the tenant had stopped responding to her messages.

Our adviser suggested that Alice could consider availing of Housing Rights’ free mediation service to communicate with the tenant and come to an agreement regarding access to the property. Alice agreed to this and her tenant also agreed to take part. With the help of a mediator, they agreed to postpone the inspection for a few weeks, to give time for the tenant to tidy up the garden, and that Alice would give a weeks’ notice ahead of the next inspection.

Find out more about your rights to access a rented property

If you are a registered Landlord in Northern Ireland and need advice, contact us on 028 902 45640 (option 1), or send an email.