Landlord’s Entry to Rental Property

When a Landlord May Enter

The landlord may enter into a rental property at a reasonable time and manner without force or physical threats in the following situations:

  • The tenant has given permission
  • There is an emergency such as fire, flood, or gas leak
  • The landlord is asserting a valid, legal landlords lien
  • The landlord enters to make repairs ordered by health, building, fire, or other code inspections

The landlord may enter at other times only if the tenant has given permission, verbally or written. A realtor’s lock box may be placed on the unit’s door and the landlord may show the property to new tenants or prospective purchasers only with the tenants permission.

Landlord’s Unwelcome Unannounced Entry to Rental Property

If the landlord enters the unit without permission or without proper authorization, the tenant may consider taking the following steps:

  • Send a written complaint to the landlord documenting the landlord’s actions, keeping a copy of the complaint for your records requesting that the actions stop immediately.
  • If the landlord’s invasion of privacy continues, document the landlord’s disregard of the last letter by sending another letter, stating that you intend to exercise your legal rights.
  • Change the locks and do not provide the landlord with a key. Remember that a tenant would assume future liability in case of an emergency and must reinstall the original locks before moving out. Send a letter advising the landlord that the locks have been changed due to the landlord’s invasion of privacy and that the landlord should contact the tenant to gain entry to the unit in the future.
  • Subject the landlord to arrest for trespassing by calling the local law enforcement agency (police or sheriff’s department) when the landlord has entered into the property improperly. Report all threats, intimidation, defamation of character, and physical attacks to law enforcement immediately. Be sure to keep copies of any complaints filed with law enforcement.

What a Tenant May do When Repairs are Required

A tenant should refer to the lease to determine responsibility for repairs. If the landlord is responsible, the tenant should first contact the landlord. If the landlord refuses to comply with the request the tenant may try the following:

  • Present a written list of the repairs requested with a defined time limit
  • Be cooperative, be available, and offer to be present when a repair person arrives

The tenant should:

  • Keep copies of correspondence to and from the landlord
  • Follow-up on any agreement both written and verbal given by the landlord
  • Give reasonable time frames for repairs to be made
  • Follow-up with written reminders for outstanding repairs
  • If the tenant still remains delinquent in completion of repairs, the tenant should contact an attorney