Our landlord entered our house while we were away, can he do this?

Property clinic: This is not just a breach of courtesy, but also the 2004 Tenancies Act

Landlords must seek tenants’ permission to enter their property, unless there is an emergency

Landlords must seek tenants’ permission to enter their property, unless there is an emergency

 

My wife and I were abroad last week and when we returned, we noticed that the alarm in our house wasn’t on. We live in a rented house and it was definitely set it before we went away. We were initially quite concerned when we returned and phoned the landlord. He told us that he had to drop into the property to pick up some post that was sent there in his name as he used to live in the house. We were not impressed as he didn’t have the courtesy to notify us and didn’t seem to think there was anything wrong with this. Can the landlord do this?

I am surprised that you and your wife should find yourself in this position and appalled that there are still landlords totally ignorant of the 2004 Tenancies Act.

This is not just a breach of courtesy it is also a breach of your “quiet enjoyment” as set out in the 2004 Tenancies Act. No landlord or their agent can enter the property unless they have sought the tenant’s permission and they have given their consent. It is as simple as that. The residential tenancies board (rtb.ie) has ruled on several of these breaches of quiet enjoyment and handed out quite severe penalties to the landlord.

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You may or may not choose to go down that road but if I were the landlord in that position, I would be issuing a very prompt grovelling apology with an assurance that it will not reoccur.

There are of course exceptions where a landlord/agent may need to access the property in an emergency, for example burst pipes or fire. There are also exceptional cases, such as when a family member requests the landlord/agent to investigate whether the tenant is ill or worse because they have not heard from them. Unfortunately, I as an agent have had to enter apartments in these circumstances and sadly to find a tenant deceased. These of course are very rare occurrences and there is absolutely nothing in the Act that allows for the behaviour you encountered.

Kersten Mehl is a chartered residential agency surveyor and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, scsi.ie

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