When Your Landlord Can Legally Enter Your Apartment (and When He Can’t)
If you rent your living space , then of course you don’t technically own it, but you pay for it and it’s your personal sanctuary. However, your landlord may, for whatever reason, at some point want (or need to) enter your private residence. Although you have a legal right to privacy, in some cases you may not be able to stop the landlord from entering.
When the owner can enter
Keep in mind that rules and laws regarding when a landlord can enter your home vary by location, so check your own local regulations to be sure – here’s a state by state list of laws . However, in general, the homeowner may enter the premises when his reason is for maintenance or security.
According to real estate expert Erin Eberlin , here are the top reasons a landlord might drop by:
- Property Maintenance
- Sale or rental of real estate
- Health or safety concerns
- They have a court order
Sometimes, for example, when your radiator is broken or there is a leak, you yourself arrange a visit – and you will be grateful for it. In other cases, like when the landlord wants to do an inspection, you have no control over when they show up. But in most cases, they still have to notify you in advance of their arrival. In many states, landlords are required to give advance notice of their upcoming arrival, although the amount of time varies from state to state. As a rule, they must notify you 24 or 48 hours in advance and do so in writing. Also be aware that in some states, such as Arkansas and Georgia, they are not required to notify you at all.
In Florida, landlords must notify you 12 hours before they arrive for repairs, but the law also makes it clear they can come in “as needed” in an emergency. It’s also important to be mindful of emergencies: there’s a difference between replacing a broken appliance with advance notice and breaking in due to a potential gas leak, fire, or flood.
When the landlord can’t get in
In most states, landlords can’t just walk in without telling you ahead of time, as above. There are also a few conditions as to what time of day they can arrive. Again, the exact hours vary from state to state, but generally they cannot come at the wrong time; this means they can usually enter from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday to Friday unless you give special permission for other times. (This also excludes emergencies.)
In addition to local laws, you need to review your lease to understand exactly what rights your landlord has and is willing to exercise. However, one thing they cannot do is to disturb you. They cannot appear out of nowhere or use their pre-announced visits to harass or intimidate you.