A landlord has a legal right to enter his tenant’s rental unit in many circumstances. Practical access to the space is much more limited than it would be if the unit was vacant. But the home or commercial property still belongs to the landlord.
The Covenant of Quiet use and Enjoyment
Residential rental contracts imply the “covenant of quiet use and enjoyment.” This means the landlord guarantees the tenant can take possession of the rental unit and has the right to privacy. The tenant is also given exclusive use of the rental property, which the landlord will not interfere with nor the tenant’s privacy. There are, however, exceptions to this law.
Many tenants don’t realize the law allows a landlord rights of entry to the rental unit, albeit limited. With advanced notice of 12 hours or more (some states require at least 24 hours), a landlord can enter a property to inspect the premises or make repairs and show the rental unit to prospective tenants. The amount of notice required is determined by your specific lease and the circumstances of the entry. Most leases include a 24-hour notice provision for inspections and repairs. In cases of emergency, no notice would be required for the landlord to enter the premises to preserve and protect the landlord’s property.
The Question of Presence
Aside from what most landlords may think, they are allowed to enter their tenant’s residence unaccompanied. As long as the proper requirements of the law have been met and the tenant has been informed, there is no legal reason a tenant must accompany the landlord as he inspect, repairs or shows the property to a potential tenant. Even at the tenant’s request to be present, the landlord is not legally bound to honor this adjure.
Moreover, even if the tenant refuses entry to the landlord for any legally justified reasoning, the landlord is still allowed to enter. In fact, if a tenant denies a landlord entry to their rental unit after the proper advance notice they are in breach of their rental agreement and state law, providing grounds for eviction.
Knowing your rights as a landlord is imperative to properly and legally running your income property. If you have a tenant that refuses to allow you to enter your own rental property- which your investment- you have every right to take action and do what is needed to gain entry. That being said, you should always conduct yourself cautiously and request police accompaniment where you believe the tenant or circumstances pose threat to your physical safety.