16 Apr Landlord Rights
Landlord Rights: Entering A Rental Property
Landlord rights vs. tenant privacy, is one of the most common sources of tension when it comes to entering a rental property. And, a tenant’s right of privacy is at the heart of the issue. This happens when a tenant wants to be left alone and a landlord’s need to enter conflict. If, and when they do, it is very important both parties understand their rights. Every tenant has a right to privacy, but it must be balanced against a landlord’s right to maintain his or her rental property. From dealing with emergencies to making repairs, a tenant cannot unreasonably deny access to a landlord. But, in order to gain access to a rental property legally, landlords must follow all state and local rules. With this in mind, we offer some insight on entering a rental property the right way.
Please Note: this information is not a substitute for qualified legal advice.
Tenant Rights to Privacy
Living free from the fear of unexpected visits from a landlord or their agents is what every tenant expects. While the landlord has a right of entry, there must be a balance against a tenant’s right to privacy. California law protects tenants’ privacy by defining when, why, and how often a landlord has the right to enter a rental property. Tenants often become fearful that their privacy is at risk when a landlord enters the rental property without their consent. There are a variety of situations that both tenants and the law consider invasive, which include but are not limited to:
- Stopping by the property too frequently
- Making visits without proper notice in writing
- Failing to provide a notice that does not specify the time or date
- Entering the property without the tenant’s permission
- Allowing others, such as service workers, enter unaccompanied
- Conducting inspections and or repair work outside business hours
- Landlords who abuse their right of access or use it to harass the tenant
A Landlord’s Right To Enter
Conflicting interests often lead to disagreements between landlords and tenants regarding a landlord’s right to enter. Generally speaking, a landlord must have a valid reason to enter the rental property, with proper notice. That is, unless the tenant gave the landlord permission in advance to enter. However, if there is an emergency that poses a risk of injuries or property damage, the landlord can enter the unit without any advance notice or permission.
When Can a Landlord Enter a Rental Property?
From time to time, a landlord may need to enter a tenant’s unit to deal an emergency, make repairs, and to maintain their property. According to California Civil Code §1954, a landlord may enter the dwelling unit only in the following cases:
- In case of an emergency
- When a landlord needs access to the property in order for repairs or maintenance to be conducted
- Supply necessary or agreed services
- To make inspections yearly, semi-yearly, or quarterly inspections of the property to ensure tenants are maintaining the property in accordance with the lease
- To show unit to purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workmen, or contractors
- When the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises
- Pursuant to a court order
- For the purposes set forth in Chapter 2.5
- To comply with provisions of Article 2.2
Always make sure to follow the law and give tenants reasonable notice before entering their unit.
Notice To Enter
California law clearly spells out when a landlord has the right to enter a tenant-occupied property. While your tenants cannot unreasonably deny access to their unit, as a landlord you must follow all state and local rules. Once you have ensured your reason for entering your rental property is valid, make sure to give your tenants reasonable notice. According to the website for California Legislative Information,
The landlord shall give the tenant reasonable notice in writing of his or her intent to enter and enter only during normal business hours. The notice shall include the date, approximate time, and purpose of the entry. The notice may be personally delivered to the tenant. Or, left with someone of a suitable age and discretion at the premises, or, left on, near, or under the usual entry door of the premises in a manner in which a reasonable person would discover the notice. Twenty-four hours shall be presumed to be reasonable notice in absence of evidence to the contrary. The notice may be mailed to the tenant. Mailing of the notice at least six days prior to an intended entry is presumed reasonable notice in the absence of evidence to the contrary. (California Legislative Information, (d) (1))
Gaining access to a rental property is a legal right of every landlord. However, there are only certain reasons a landlord has the right to enter. The reality is, managing a rental property can take a toll on any landlord, especially those who would rather not deal with the stressful property management tasks. If this sounds like you, it may be time to consider hiring a property management company to do the work for you.
California Legislative Information. (n.d.). Law section. Retrieved on April 16, 2019 from https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=CIV§ionNum=1954