A Landlord’s Right Of Entry To Leased Property

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on August 10, 2006 under Landlord Tenant Lawsuits | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

Right of entry can be a confusing issue, however, it is one single point landlords should be more than clear about. It is only natural a landlord wishes to protect his / her property, entering it even if the property has been leased out, in order to investigate against suspected damage. Nonetheless, unless it is an emergency, most states require landlords to notify tenants, 24-hours in advance before they can rightfully enter a rented unit.

Generally, most states require landlords to issue a minimum 24-hours notice, though there are some states that allow a shorter period of advance notice i.e. as little as 2-hours. To be legally correct, it is a good idea to research state requirements for a landlord’s right of entry to a rented unit, as what you constitute as reasonable notice, may differ from your state’s legal definition.

A landlord must always inform a tenant well in advance of his / her intention to enter the rented unit, even if it is to perform repairs. As well, except in the case of a specific emergency, a tenant must also be informed and permission obtained for a repairman to be granted access to his / her rented accommodation.

In addition, apart from the right of entry notice, a landlord must ensure he / she enters the property at a reasonable time, which most states specify is during normal business hours, again except in the case of an emergency. This means, unless the tenant grants permission otherwise, a landlord may gain access to rented property between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

There may be times, when a tenant refuses access to the property, despite sufficient advance notice. In such a situation, a landlord should maintain his calm and not try to force his / her way in. Another attempt should be made to gain entry by notifying the tenant again and giving more than adequate notice, failing which, the local law enforcement agency should be contacted to help gain safe and legal entry to the property. A landlord should follow his rights without overstepping the legal right of entry issue, thereby protecting himself against tenant claims of illegal entry.

However, an emergency, such as, a gas or water leak, an indication of smoke, fire, or some such that puts the tenant or your property in danger, almost always supersedes the usual notification process. Unlike some landlords who do, it is advisable not to abuse this emergency provision to gain entry to a rented unit, as according to law, you will be asked to thoroughly document your reasons for entering the property. Play it safe by always having a witness to testify to the emergency.

If a landlord suspects the tenant has abandoned the property, then there is no need for worrying about right
of entry. However, a landlord must be certain the tenant has actually vacated the property and not gone on a holiday, instead. Entering rented property while a tenant is vacationing could well amount to breaking the law.

There are a few landlords who feel the right of entry law is unfair, but it is there to protect tenant interests and peaceful enjoyment of his / her rented home. A landlord’s intention may be above reproach, however entering without notice is clear violation of a tenant’s private space.

Ascertain your rental agreement spells out the right of entry policy, clearly. State how much notice you will give the tenant and what emergencies will void this notice period. While, including right of entry in the lease agreement will lessen any chances of mis-understanding, it will also inform the tenant, not only of their rights, but a landlord’s rights as legal owner of the property.

But, to avoid any mishaps or unwanted tenants, visit www.e-renter.com for tenant screening and background check services.

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