When you are renting property, your landlord does not have the right to enter at anytime for any reason. Rather, you as the tenant have a right of privacy that limits the landlord’s ability to enter the property you are renting. Most of the time, your landlord must provide notice to you before entering the premises.
There are few situations in which your landlord has a right to enter the premises. Some examples are:
- Emergencies: if there is an emergency, such as a fire or a water pipe burst, your landlord is usually entitled to enter the premises
- To make repairs: your landlord is allowed to enter the premises in order to make necessary repairs
- To show the property to prospective tenants or buyers: your landlord is allowed to enter the premises in order to show the property to people who are interested in buying or renting the property
Your landlord is not allowed to enter just to check up on you or the rental property.
In the case of an emergency, your landlord doesn’t have to provide notice to you about entering. But, in most states your landlord must provide you with notice before entering to make repairs or show the property to others. In many states this notice must be given at least 24 hours in advance. Notice is almost always required unless there is an emergency or you have given your landlord permission.
Many states do allow your landlord to enter during an extended absence. In most states, an extended absence is seven or more days. In states that allow landlords to enter during extended absences, the landlord is usually only allowed to enter to maintain the property, check for damages, or make any necessary repairs.
If you give permission, then the landlord has the legal right to enter. You can limit the permission by including several restriction when you grant permission. For example, you could require that the landlord give you 48 hours notice.
The steps you should take in response to your landlord violating your right to privacy vary from state to state. In some states you can collect damages for it; in other states your landlord’s behavior might constitute trespassing. An experienced landlord-tenant attorney can help you determine if you rights have been violated and what steps you should take.