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Gaining Entry to Someones Home


Lawdit Solicitors - Expert Author

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1 March 2011

This article looks at the rights of certain bodies which have the right to enter a home in certain circumstances. Of course, to protect the rights of all homeowners, there must be a legitimate reason for the entry and they must produce evidence of identity. In certain circumstances they can only gain entry by giving the homeowner prior written notice and permitted to visit at a reasonable hour of the day. Where there has been forcible entry, they must secure the property before leaving.

The Fire Service

They are permitted to enter a property - and neighbouring properties - if there is or there is believed to be a fire.

Police Officers

Where they have a search warrant, the Police can gain immediate access to a property. They can therefore force entry into a home. Search warrants are issued by the court and can be given for a variety of reasons such as to carry out a search or seizure. Where the Police have a suspicion and want to search a home but have no search warrant, they cannot enter the home lawfully unless given permission in writing by the homeowner.


Private bailiffs can only enter a property through an open door or window. Once they have gained lawful access into the property, they are permitted by law to force entry to any other part of the property. Where seizure of property is postponed by the debtor agreeing to make regular payments, and the debtor defaults, then the bailiffs can force entry to the home. Court bailiffs can enter a property and remove a tenant, if the tenant is in breach of a court order to leave the property. All bailiffs must abide by the code of conduct of the Enforcement Services Association (ESA), and any complaint against them should be made with the ESA, if not the head of their employer.

Tax and Customs & Excise Officers

Tax officers will only enter a home if they have a suspicion, but they must have a search warrant before doing so.

Custom & Excise officers can enter by force, seize documents and search individuals, without a warrant to investigate suspected Vat offences.

TV Licensing Officers

They can only enter a home if they have a search warrant. They may make repeated visits to re-check if they suspect there is a television but do not find it during previous visits.

Various Local Authority Officers

Planning and rating officers can only enter a home to inspect it, having given prior notice. It is an offence to get into their way.

Local Housing Officers can enter for a variety of reasons, such as to enforce a notice to repair or demolish or a compulsory purchase order. They must have written authority and must give at least 24 hours notice. It can be an offence to get in their way. It must be noted that private landlords cannot enter a rented property without prior agreement with the tenant, except where it's an emergency.

Officers of Utility Companies

Gas and electricity officers can enter in an emergency, or by warrant for other purposes such to disconnect the supply because of non-payment of bills or illegal use.

Water company officers can enter your house to inspect water meters, illegal use of water or in emergencies.

Inam Ali is a Solicitor at Lawdit, specialising in Commercial Property and Intellectual Property Law and can be contacted via email:

About the Author

Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2011-03-16 13:21:02 in Legal Articles

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