• Tenant refusing viewings

    You probably included a clause in your tenancy agreement that said the tenant must allow you to arrange viewings during the last 28 days of the tenancy, so you probably think that you have a right to bring new tenants round during the last month, right?

    Wrong.

    You can, but you must get the tenant’s consent each time, preferably by giving at least 24 hours’ notice, and the tenant has the right to refuse if the viewing isn’t convenient. If you’ve ended up with an awkward tenant who is refusing viewings without good reason, there’s not a lot you can do about it.

    Yes, technically the tenant is in breach of contract if they refuse you access, but as they’re leaving anyway there’s really no action you can take.

    Certainly stamping your foot and shouting “but it’s my house anyway” won’t end well, you could be in breach of the clause that states the tenant has the right to “quiet enjoyment” of the property. You might even get sued for harassment.

    So, how can you gain entry? (Tip: You can’t break down the door)

    Rather than getting angry, it’s better to try to win over them over. Ask them what are their preferred dates and times for viewings and try to stick to these. If they still refuse viewings, perhaps offer them a small bribe refund of the rent if they “help” you to find a new tenant by allowing you to show people round.

    However, if your tenant is seriously awkward and still refusing viewings, all you can do is line up viewers to take round the minute they leave.

    It’s annoying because you’ll end up with a void, but on the plus side, you might find you’ll conduct fewer viewings because you’ll be able to make sure the property looks its best so it will be snapped up faster. You might even get more rent.

    Viewings with a tenant in situ are always a little awkward, if only because traipsing people through someone else’s bedroom is an odd thing to do. Who doesn’t cringe when spying a stranger’s unmade bed, or walking into a recently vacated bathroom?

    Viewings can be especially difficult if the tenant is living like a pig and you have to pick your way through piles of dirty laundry, the bathroom’s filthy and the kitchen sink is always groaning under the weight of unwashed dishes.

    That’s never going to make a good impression.

    Even if your tenant is keeping the property reasonably tidy, it’s hard to present it in the best light when someone else is living there. For example, you can’t very well go round and open the curtains, make the beds, spray the place with Febreeze and scatter cushions over their dodgy sofas.

    Well you can, but they would be within their rights to chuck you out.

    However, most tenants will make an effort to tidy up before a viewing, especially if you’ve got a good relationship with them. After all, most of us don’t want strangers to see our dirty pants on the floor.

    Whatever, it’s always better to get to the property a few minutes before the viewer to make sure the coast is clear (ie the tenant isn’t in bed/the shower/naked). If necessary, switch on lights to make rooms brighter, but you’ll have to resist the temptation to tidy up, remember it’s your tenant’s home.

    If you’re lucky enough to have super helpful, clean and tidy tenants, they might even help to let the property for you, especially if you offer them an incentive. Certainly if they work locally for a large company or organisation, it’s worth asking them to put up a notice at work or asking colleagues if they know if anyone is interested.