Landlord Visits: What Are the Rules?

Do you live in constant fear, wondering whether your landlord will pop in unannounced any moment? Sure, the landlord owns the property and has a right to visit it, but that doesn’t mean he or she can treat you like hired help.

Not respecting your boundaries and entering without proper notice is a big no-no and one that you shouldn’t have to endure. But you can’t expect your landlord never to come by. For all the landlord knows, you could be destroying the front yard by turning it into an auto repair zone. Legally inspections are at the landlords discretion and can be all over the board, in my opinion it’s fair for landlords to come by 2-4 times a year to do an inspection, notifying tenants beforehand.

When you rent a property, you have the right to chill there — according to the law, this is called “quiet enjoyment.”

All tenants who rent a property have the right to “quiet enjoyment,” including the right to privacy with an expectation that the landlord won’t enter the unit without permission.

It’s important to review your lease, It usually lists the circumstances under which the landlord can enter your apartment.

A typical lease agreement might state the following reasons:

-An annual inspection
-In case of an emergency
-To make repairs
-To show the unit to insurance agents, appraisers or even prospective buyers or tenants
-When you give permission
-You Should Get Notice

If the landlord wants to come over, he or she usually needs to give you notice, typically 24 to 48 hours. Many local jurisdictions require a landlord to come over only at reasonable times – not at 9 a.m. on a Saturday when you were hanging at the club until 2 a.m. the night before…

Your Remedies

The first remedy every tenant should try is to voice your concern in a friendly manner, thankfully that often does the trick. If it doesn’t, there is a progression of  legal steps to try.

1. Send your landlord a friendly letter. It can be an email that asks to receive notice before a visit. You don’t have to give a reason, but it makes the note more personable if you do. Most landlords should understand that your baby is on a strict nap schedule, that you want time to get your dog confined, or that you work odd hours and want to be awake before the visit.

2. Send a second letter or email but with a businesslike tone. This step requires you to research your state’s landlord-tenant law to see what your state says about the issue. Let your landlord know what your rights are under your state law. When there is no statute, mention your right to quiet enjoyment.

3. Sue if your landlord continues to come over unannounced. You could go through a lawyer or try to save money by taking the landlord to small claims court.

4. Move. If your landlord won’t stop the unannounced visits, you might be entitled to break the lease. The “implied covenant of quiet enjoyment” pertains to every tenancy.

What Not to Do!

Although it might be an easy solution to change the locks to prevent the unannounced intrusions, you cannot do that legally. You don’t own the property, after all, and the landlord could evict you for doing that. The same goes for withholding rent. That’s typically a risky endeavor, which often gets tenants evicted.

If a creepy or overbearing landlord has you considering a move.  Here’s a list of current vacancies from Real Property Management.


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