Who can enter your property without permission? Very few people have the right to come inside your home – and we have the exact details right here.
Scroll on to uncover the rare circumstances that allow others to enter your property and how many hours’ notice they must give in those different situations. Whether you’re a private landlord, tenant or homeowner – this blog is for you.
Can someone enter my home without permission?
In some cases, there are people working specific jobs who can access your property without permission. For example, housing offices and fire service workers and a limited number of others can enter your premises without permission. They have what is known as Power of Entry.
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What are powers of entry?
Power of entry is a statutory right for some public service workers to come into your home or on your land without prior permission.
Keep scrolling to learn who has a statutory right to come inside your property without giving prior notice.
Who has the statutory right to enter?
The statutory right is granted to a person in state and public service jobs in specific situations only. Some examples of these roles are:
- Police officers
- Fire service workers
- Ambulance workers
- Council and local authority trading standards officers
- Some enforcement agents
The reason that these people have statutory right to enter is so they can carry out their work as part of an emergency situation, court order, an urgent search or an investigation. They do not have the right to enter your premises unless there is a specific situation that grants them this right.
Can bailiffs break into my house?
Bailiffs have the legal powers to enter your home through unlocked and open doors – but never windows. To be safe, it is best to keep everything locked and communicate through an upstairs window when possible. There are limited occasions when a bailiff can use reasonable force to enter. This does not mean breaking down your door, but rather, employing a locksmith to unlock your door. The limited number of situations that allow a bailiff to do this are:
- When they are collecting Magistrate fines
- Collecting HMRC debts
- Defaulting on a Controlled Goods Agreement (and the secured goods against the agreement are inside your home)
It is illegal for enforcement agents to act aggressively, harm you or force their way into your property in any other situation. The same rules apply if you are the homeowner or one of the tenants. We have a guide that will help you deal with bailiffs if you have received a CCJ or Notice of Enforcement recently.
Can bailiffs come on a weekend?
Bailiffs can carry out visits to your property on a Saturday, but they should not be visiting your address on a Sunday, bank holiday or on national holidays such as Christmas or Good Friday. They should be providing you with notice of their intended visit and seize goods.
If the bailiffs are coming on a day they are not supposed to, you should contact them and make a complaint. On days they are permitted to come to your property, the rules say they should only be arriving between 6am and 9pm.
Can water and energy companies enter without a warrant?
Water companies do not need your permission to access your house and inspect a water meter. You should also be aware that your water supply can never be switched off, as running water is a basic human right. However, energy companies must get your approval to enter or they must obtain a warrant to enter first. They will do this if you have arrears and they want to fit a prepayment meter in the property.
Can my landlord enter my home without my permission?
If you are a legitimate tenant of a property, you take over the legal rights to live in that property without interference from your landlord. Your landlord cannot come inside your property without getting consent from their tenants first. This would be an offence. If they want to come and carry out an inspection of the property or carry out a repair, they must:
- Give you 24 hours notice
- Only come at a reasonable time
If they do provide 24 hours’ notice and propose a sociable time, you cannot repeatedly refuse entry to a landlord or a letting agent they employ. You can however negotiate another time or date if the time and/or date they have requested is not convenient. For example, you can reject a time proposed by the landlord but then offer an alternative.
If you have not kept up with your rent, your landlord cannot just access the premises and kick you out. There are official processes that must be followed, and it can take time for landlords to get their tenants out, even if they have stopped paying rent. If you are struggling to meet your bills and essential costs, you may benefit from our budgeting guide and resources.
Can a landlord ever come inside without notice?
Landlords can come inside without permission and without notice if there is a real emergency situation. Sometimes landlords and tenants cannot agree on what constitutes an emergency. The main emergency situations are gas leaks, flooding and fire.
If your private landlord has entered for one of these reasons without reasonable notice, it is generally accepted. Most tenants accept this as the landlord is gaining entry to protect their living conditions and possibly the tenants’ safety.
Can the police search my house without a warrant?
The police will need a search warrant to gain access to your property in most situations. However, there are a number of instances when the police do not need one to enter your premises, including:
- In pursuit of a criminal who is believed to have carried out a serious crime, or has been arrested and has now escaped.
- When a police office hears distressed or cries for help
- To arrest someone
- For an inspection relating to a disturbance
- When invited into the premises without a legitimate warrant but the owner or tenant
Entry alone does not give a police officer power to conduct a search. For this, they would generally need a search warrant. Without consent to conduct a search with a warrant, any evidence they find as part of a criminal investigation could be deemed admissible by a court. This means the evidence would not be allowed into the court proceedings and could result in not convicting you.
If the police have a warrant to search, they can use reasonable force to come inside once only, unless the warrant is to check on a sex offender. In these instances, the police may be able to re-enter as often as needed within one month. And if nobody is present when they show up, they must leave a copy of their warrant.
What can I do if my property has been searched?
If your property has been searched without a warrant, you should make an official complaint. If you were the subject of a legal search and the police seized items for their investigation, you do not have any rights to retrieve these items.
You can ask for the items back. If you believe they are not being used as evidence, you should write to Chief Constable. If they tell you they are being treated as evidence, you will need to speak with the Procurator Fiscal.
Can the council enter my property?
A local authority worker, such as a planning officer, is able to come onto your property and its grounds to assess if there have been any legal breaches in building work completed. Housing officers can come inside your home to inspect housing conditions. They typically give notice when doing so.
Need legal advice or support?
If you need further information related to any of the topics discussed above, including landlords, you should contact a debt charity, Citizens Advice or even seek legal advice. And for more interesting discussions about your rights and others’ legal powers, check out our MoneyNerd blog again soon!