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Can My Landlord Just Come In
With a rental lease set to expire, most landlords want to show the apartment as often as possible, which means they'll need a notice of entry to get into your place. They'll be eager to find new renters, but the law states they can't just unlock your door at any time and pop in for a visit. They also aren't allowed to show the apartment so many times that it creates a nuisance for you and disrupts your life.
If you're a renter, read on for the rules of landlord entry, so you know what to expect.
Landlord notice of entry
Landlords are legally obligated to provide a renter with notice that they'll be entering the premises—for any reason. Whether that's to show the property to a potential renter or to fix a leaky faucet, the law is clear: Legal tenants have the right to quiet enjoyment of their home.
"The landlord must provide reasonable notice in writing (generally, 24 hours) of his intent to enter—and to do it only during normal business hours," explains Bryan Zuetel, a Realtor® and real estate attorney from Irvine, CA. If a tenant is home and consents to entry, the 24-hour notice can be waived. Then again, it is OK for a tenant to deny entry to their landlord if they show up unannounced.
If the landlord intends to rent or sell the property to someone new, they may ask you to allow additional showings, Zuetel says. And depending on what's spelled out in your lease agreement, you may have to comply. "For example, under certain conditions, a landlord may require that the tenant permit a weekend open house during regular business hours, and the landlord may provide oral notice of entry to the tenant," he says.
So pull out the paperwork you signed if you're worried that your landlord is crossing the line. Landlords who are following those guidelines are probably in the clear.
How often can a landlord show an apartment?
Rental law does not specifically stipulate a maximum number of times a landlord is allowed to show an apartment to prospective tenants. It does, however, provide some cover for tenants. "The landlord may not abuse the right of access, or use it to harass the tenant," Zuetel explains.
That might sound vague, but if you do feel like your landlord is abusing the right of access and bothering you too often, you should try talking to them first, before calling an attorney. "Let them know that you are feeling stressed from all the showings and ask for a break for a few days—that seems more than reasonable," says Holly Pasut, a Realtor with Hines and Associates Realty in Cornelius, NC. If that doesn't help, you can then seek legal action.
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