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Periodic and Other Visits

4.1 Periodic and Other Visits

Landlords have a common law obligation to maintain a let property
reasonably free from disrepair. The Local Authority may take enforcement
action if they identify risks including, but not limited to, items of repair
under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) under Part 1
of the Housing Act 2004. Letting/renting a house in multiple occupation
(HMO) adds specific management obligations for landlords and occupiers.
These obligations have been detailed in part 2 of this manual.

The landlord, or some responsible person acting on the landlord’s behalf,
should visit the house regularly. Visits can also be carried out at any other
reasonable time if the tenant reports a problem. This is to both identify and
prioritise repairs and other works which may need doing and to ascertain
whether the tenancy conditions are being met. It is good practice to visit
at least quarterly. As conditions within residential premises are now risk-
assessed under the HHSRS the person undertaking the visits should also be
looking out for hazards.

Some visits will need to be undertaken by a qualified and competent
person, for example, a suitably qualified gas engineer for annual gas safety
checks or a competent electrician for periodic fire alarm checks.
Tenants must have a means of contacting the landlord or letting agent at
all times and there must be a procedure in place to deal adequately with
emergencies. Any works, however identified, need to be resolved within a
reasonable time period depending on their seriousness.

It is good practice to keep a record of all visits and/or referrals from the
tenant including the proposed solution and outcome. Some landlords have
a standard checklist, which provides a useful prompt of things to look for
and a record of what was found. Some landlords give a copy to their tenant.

Receipts should be kept when repairs are undertaken for which the cost
may be recovered through any of the tenancy deposit schemes and for tax
purposes.

It’s important to note that: unless the tenant agrees otherwise, a landlord
must give adequate, at least 24 hours, written notice of any visit and
its purpose. Some landlords include a note saying they will change the
appointment to a mutually convenient date if requested and that unless
the tenant objects they will let themselves in to conduct the inspection.
If this procedure is used it should be incorporated into any tenancy
agreement.

Any visit must not be intrusive. This could constitute harassment. Any
terms in the tenancy agreement regarding access must be reasonable.

These conditions apply only to areas where the tenant or tenants (in the
case of a joint tenancy) have exclusive possession. Landlords can access
communal areas which remain under their control at all reasonable hours.
It is normally courteous to give tenants notice of any works in these
communal areas that may cause them inconvenience.