Every state has its own laws governing a landlord’s right to enter a tenant’s unit, but there are also some general rules that come from national landlord-tenant law in the U.S. Landlords can only enter your unit if you have expressly agreed to it, if they have a court order, or if you abandoned your rental unit.
You have to agree to your landlord's entry if they need to inspect your unit, make a necessary repair, or show the unit to prospective new tenant.
Depending on the reason for entry, your landlord is legally required to let you know with a certain amount of warning when they will be entering your unit and why. In some states, like Washington, the law demands that a landlord request entry in writing, including the estimated dates and times that they will need access to the unit. Violating entry notice laws could be construed as a violation of your right to quiet enjoyment.
Generally, the amount of notice required will depend on the reason for entry:
- Emergency entry often requires no notice
- Scheduling a showing for a prospective tenant requires twenty four hours
- Routine maintenance or pest control requires seventy two hours
If your landlord ever enters your unit without notice when you aren't home then he is or she is required to leave a written note in a conspicuous place stating that they were there, when and why.
If you don't give your landlord consent to enter your unit and they have a problem with this then they can take you to court - so don't assume you can withhold consent forever. According to the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act you might be forced to cover damages or one month of rent. They can also terminate your lease within fourteen days.
If you feel like your landlord is taking advantage of landlord entry rights to harass you, then you can take them to court and demand either damages or one month of rent. You would also have the right to get a court injunction to stop them from entering and you can terminate the lease with thirty days notice.
If you think your landlord is entering your unit illegally (or did it once) you have the right to leave without notice using constructive eviction laws.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.
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