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When Can a Landlord Enter My Apartment?

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on October 25, 2011 8:46 AM

Your landlord may be a snoop. Or he may want to replace those ugly blinds. Either way, you don't want him in your living space.

Can you deny him entrance? What limits are there to a landlord's right of entry?

These are pretty common questions amongst renters out there, and for good reason. People want their privacy, and unexpected guests are rarely welcome.

Landlord right of entry laws vary by jurisdiction, but most states apply the following rules:

Landlord Right of Entry Rule #1: Notice

The majority of states demand that landlords provide reasonable notice prior to entering the premises. Twenty-four hours is pretty standard.

However, there are some exceptions. A landlord may skip notice in cases of emergency or suspected abandonment. Abandonment may be an issue in cases of extended, unexplained absences.

Landlord Right of Entry Rule #2: Reason

Your lease may list additional reasons, but a landlord's right of entry is generally limited to certain situations. With notice, a landlord can enter an apartment for the following reasons:

  • Making repairs
  • Inspecting the premises for damage
  • Inspecting the apartment for safety and other code compliance
  • Showing the apartment to prospective tenants or buyers
  • Showing the premises to insurance or mortgage companies
  • A reasonable belief that the lease is being violated

Landlord Right of Entry Rule #3: Consent

Your landlord may have provided notice, and have a good reason. But can you still deny access?

The general rule is that you can't unreasonably deny entry. You can probably require a repair be moved to a different date, or demand that you be home at the time. However, you can't completely stop a landlord from making an essential repair, or from showing the apartment.

If you absolutely do not want your landlord to enter your apartment, look up your state's landlord right of entry law. It will provide you with more specific guidance.

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