Q&As

A landlord has a right of access to carry out works on failure of a tenant to comply with a notice to repair pursuant to a Jervis v Harris clause. If the tenant does not carry out the works, does the landlord have an automatic right to enter the premises to carry out the works or must it obtain the tenant's express permission to enter the premises?

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Published on LexisPSL on 02/10/2019

The following Property Disputes Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • A landlord has a right of access to carry out works on failure of a tenant to comply with a notice to repair pursuant to a Jervis v Harris clause. If the tenant does not carry out the works, does the landlord have an automatic right to enter the premises to carry out the works or must it obtain the tenant's express permission to enter the premises?

There is no implied right to re-enter commercial premises to carry out repairs in circumstances where the tenant is in breach of their repairing obligations. Therefore, the landlord can only use this remedy if there is an express right to gain access and undertake the repairs, often referred to as a ‘Jervis v Harris’ clause (Jervis v Harris).

The express provision is likely to set out a process whereby:

  1. the landlord must serve notice on the tenant, setting out the repairs needed and requiring that they be undertaken within a specified reasonable timescale (the timescale is sometimes dictated by the express terms of the lease)

  2. in the event that the tenant fails to undertake the works in the timescale provided, the landlord is then able to enter the premises, undertake the works and issue a debt recovery claim for those costs against the tenant

Accordingly, a Jervis v Harris clause will include a specific right for the landlord to enter to undertake the works—for example, see clause 24.2 of Precedent: Lease of whole building:

‘If the Tenant fails to comply with any of its obligations in this lease, the Landlord may give the Tenant written notice of that failure, and the Tenant must remedy it (if capable of remedy) within a reasonable period specified by the Landlord, having regard to the nature of the breach (as determined

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