10 Times a Landlord Can Enter a Rental Unit

When and Why a Landlord Can Enter a Tenant's Apartment

Picture of Landlords Right to Enter Rental Unit
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Gaining access to a tenant's apartment is a legal right of every landlord. However, there are only certain reasons a landlord has the legal right to enter. Here are ten times a landlord has the right to get inside a tenant's rental and the procedures that must be followed to request access.

10 Reasons a Landlord Can Enter Rental

Under landlord tenant law, the landlord is allowed to enter a tenant's rental unit for issues related to:

  • The maintenance of the property.
  • The sale or rental of the property.
  • Safety or health concerns.
  • When granted the legal right to by a court of law. 

Here are ten examples of situations where a landlord has a legal right to enter a tenant’s apartment:

1. To Inspect the Unit

Prior to a tenant’s move-out, the landlord has the right to inspect the unit to determine the condition of the unit. This is also referred to as a walk-through inspection.

2. Make Repairs

A landlord is responsible for keeping the property in a habitable condition. This includes making ordinary repairs, necessary repairs and repairs that have been requested specifically by the tenant.

3. Decorations, Alterations or Improvements

 A landlord has a right to enter a tenant’s unit for the purposes of making aesthetic changes or improvements to the unit. Adding a washer and dryer to a unit which did not previously have one would be an example of an improvement.

4. To Deliver Large Packages

If the tenant has received a package that is too large to fit in the tenant’s normal mailbox, the landlord has the right to deliver the package to the tenant him or herself.

5. To Provide Services

This includes necessary services or those that have been agreed to or requested by the tenant.

6. To Show the Apartment

The landlord has the right to enter the tenant’s unit to show the tenant's apartment. This could include showing the dwelling to prospective tenants, actual tenants who will be living in the unit once the current tenant leaves, prospective buyers, actual buyers, appraisers, mortgagees, repairmen or contractors.

7. Under Court Orders

 A landlord can enter the unit if granted access by a court of law.

8. Tenant Has Abandoned the Premises

If the tenant has abandoned the unit, the landlord has the right to enter. The landlord will need to get rid of any possessions left behind and get the apartment ready to show to prospective tenants.

9. Tenant Has Violated Health or Safety Codes

In situations where the tenant is violating health or safety codes, the landlord has the right to enter the unit to remedy the situation.

10. To Issue Eviction or Ejection Notice

A landlord can enter the unit when accompanied by a law enforcement officer to issue a service of process order regarding the eviction.

Harassment Is Illegal

The landlord must never abuse the privilege to enter the tenant’s dwelling or attempt to enter the unit to harass the tenant. Examples of harassment include cutting off necessary services or repeatedly entering a tenant's rental without notice.

When Can the Landlord Enter?

  • Reasonable Hours:

A landlord is required to enter a tenant’s unit only during “reasonable hours.” These hours may vary slightly by state, but, generally, normal business hours of 9 A.M to 6 P.M. would be acceptable times for a landlord to enter.

  • Exceptions:
    • Emergency Situations- If there is an emergency, a landlord can enter the tenant’s unit at any time. Examples of emergencies would include:
      • A gas leak at the property
      • A fire
      • Flooding at the property
      • A natural disaster which could pose immediate danger to the tenant
    • Repairs Requested by the Tenant- If a tenant has specifically asked the landlord to repair or service something in his or her unit, the landlord may enter the unit during additional hours. The landlord can enter the apartment at any hour of the day, as long as the landlord and tenant both agree to this time.
    • Performing Normal Services- When a landlord must perform scheduled services that have been spelled out in the lease agreement, they can usually enter the tenant’s unit during normal business hours, between 9 A.M. and 6 P.M. These services could include pest control or changing air-conditioning or furnace filters.

    Is Notice Required?

    Landlords are usually required to give the tenant 24 hours' notice before entering the tenant’s unit, regardless of the reason for entering. This requirement may be lifted for events such as:

    • Emergencies
    • Extermination
    • Regularly Scheduled Maintenance
    • For Health and Safety Violations
    • Abandonment of the Unit
    • Under Court Orders

    However, in these situations, the landlord must still announce him or herself and the reason for needing access to the unit before entering.

    Can a Tenant Change the Door Locks?

    No, a tenant is not permitted to change the door locks on his or her unit unless he or she first consults the landlord and is granted permission by the landlord to do so. Even if permission is granted, the tenant usually has a certain number of days to provide the landlord with a set of keys which can open the new locks.