When a tenant takes over commercial space, whether a shop, pub, or office, he could be forgiven for thinking that he might only see his landlord once a year after he receives his keys.

However, most leases of all types of commercial premises will contain clauses allowing the landlord or his agents to inspect or gain access to the premises, even during working hours, in certain circumstances.

In  most cases, this access will have to be agreed by the tenant who should receive advance notice from his landlord of his request to access the premises.  In case of emergency only, e.g. fire, the landlord is allowed enter the premises at the same time as he alerts the tenant or indeed where the tenant cannot be located.

When can a landlord insist on access to the premises?  

Generally, these rights of landlord access are carefully set out in the lease.   Typically, they allow a landlord access to the property to inspect alterations or repairs, to make sure the tenant complies with his repair and other obligations and to facilitate works being carried out to an adjoining premise.

In the current climate where the pandemic is still a hazard, it would not be unreasonable for a tenant to require the landlord to observe any access or Covid protocols especially if there are large staff numbers on site.

So access should be mutually agreed upon and in general it should be the tenant who opens up the premises to allow the landlord access and the only time the landlord should use his own keys is of course in case of emergency.