Do tenants have the right to refuse viewings during lockdown?

In my tenancy contract, the tenant must allow viewings towards the end of their tenancy, to enable the property to be re-let. However, with Coronavirus things seem a bit different.

OpenRent blog says:

“Can I conduct viewings in a property with its current tenants present?
Not without their permission. These amendments lift lockdown restrictions on leaving home to perform activities connected with letting property, but the usual rules around a tenant’s quiet enjoyment of the property still apply, and so gaining access to a property without the tenant’s consent remains severely restricted.”

This answer seems to be more around the legality of ensuring permission is got before entering a property (“usual rules”) - rather than specifically during lockdown. It was always my understanding that tenants could not refuse permission without good cause. Especially with the clause I mentioned in the contract.

Is “I dont want anyone in my home during coronavirus” a reasonable reason to refuse permission? Assuming everyone is kept safe through social distancing, mask wearing, opening all doors and not touching anything - then does the tenant have the right to refuse us the ability to re-let the property? I can confirm my tenants are not in the “at risk” category either.

Hi. We had tenants that refused us viewings at the end of their tenancy, ( All before Covid) so our tenants never even had that excuse and still we had no leg to stand on.
Unfortunately there’s nothing you can do as far as I am aware, unless anyone else knows differently.
Not sure you can deduct anything from deposit either as you wouldn’t be able to prove you would definitely have been able to find new tenants in that time. Again, I stand to be corrected!

Hi Daniel, happy to elaborate upon the bog post you reference here.

The main issue is one of practicality. If the tenants refuse to allow entry, then there is very little you can do to ‘force’ the tenants to allow you to enter the property. Like @Mr_T says, it’s a very hard position for landlords if the tenants don’t want to allow access, even in the best of circumstances.

Courts are already being advised take coronavirus into account when deciding eviction proceedings, so to me it seems likely that any court ruling on an access issue (or on any attempt to sue tenants for lost rent in the event of a void caused by lack of viewings) would also be put in this context.

Another thing to note is that the government guidance currently recommends not showing the property to new tenants until it is void.



Its only sensible to show an empty place to new tenants. as less risk to all involved, Whats a few quid less compared to people being ill?Also gives the landlord chance to do minor or major improvements. I have never in 40 years shown a place to prospective tenants whilst the place was occupied .I always wait till its empty. Smelly socks can be a destroyer

Thanks all.
The tenant is co-operating to make a video / send us some pictures of the property. We could also do something whereby prospective viewings are able to peer into windows from outside the property perhaps too. Thanks

I’m glad you are getting cooperation - I am not, not even for a video that was originally promised by my tenant.

Just to clarify, your impression is not correct: “It was always my understanding that tenants could not refuse permission without good cause”. They can refuse, and there is nothing you can do about it.

As Colin3 intimated, it is best to leave viewings until after you have cleaned up when they have left, and that follows your check-out report!