I want to decorate but my tenants won't allow me access?

Question

I have a couple of empty rooms in my six-room HMO at the moment, so I am taking the opportunity to spruce them up, as well as an overhaul on the public areas. However, my remaining tenants are not allowing my decorators access to the property, citing their entitlement to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the property. Is this reasonable? I just want to redecorate!

Answer

It’s a little shortsighted of your existing tenants – after all, the renovation of the public areas will benefit everyone in the property.

Also, depending on the type of tenancy that the rooms are let on, it may be that there is no weight to their argument. If each room is let on a separate AST, the only areas that you would require the tenant’s permission to access is their own rooms (which you don't need access to) - legally you are allowed to access the public areas, however the requirement to allow your tenants ‘quiet enjoyment’ of the property is open for interpretation!

In order to move forward with this frustrating problem, call a meeting with your tenants in order to explain exactly with the renovations hope to achieve – If your tenants aren’t willing to meet to discuss this, an email is a good idea. They may not be clear as to what you’re planning, and may be imagining huge amounts of upheaval, when in fact there only need be minimal impact on their day-to-day life. It is also possible that they may have fears that a newly renovated property may have an impact with regards to the rent that they are required to pay – it would be a good idea to allay any fears about this!

Talk through with them how you can work together to achieve the best result, whilst not disrupting their enjoyment of the property – for example if they are busy early in the mornings getting ready for work, arrange for your decorators to start after 9am. Provide a clear timescale as to how long your expect works to take, and make sure that they are kept informed at every stage of the proceedings.

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