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Landlord Legal Issues - October 2022

Landlord & tenant lawyer, Tessa Shepperson of www.landlordlaw.co.uk answers your questions

Q.I rent a property to a married couple with a young baby and have agreed to allow an au pair to live with them as a ‘permitted occupier’ so the wife can go to work. 

They have asked me to provide another set of keys for her, but the keys are quite expensive - is this something I have to provide? Can I ask them to get and pay for this themselves?

A. There is no law, as in legislation, about the number of keys to provide to tenants. This will depend on what has been agreed with them. Although normally tenancy agreements are silent on the number of keys to be provided to tenants, there are usually clauses providing for keys to be handed back at the end of the tenancy and for tenants to be responsible for the cost of replacements.

It is arguable that landlords should provide a set of keys for all the named tenants, although I am not aware of any actual legal authority on this point. As regards permitted occupiers, it is perhaps arguable that the cost of this should be down to the tenants.

However, bear in mind that if the tenants pay for the keys, the keys will then belong to them. Depending on what your tenancy agreement says, they may want to be reimbursed as a condition of handing them back when the tenancy ends. If the keys are not handed back at that time, then this would render the property insecure, and your insurance may require you to get the locks changed.

It is up to you what you decide (subject always to what your tenancy agreement may say), but you may want to bear these matters in mind when making your decision.

Q. I need to arrange for a new gas safety inspection of my property, but my tenant is not allowing me access. What can I do, and if I don’t get this done, will it prevent me from serving a section 21 notice?

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