State Laws on Landlord’s Access to Rental Property

When the rental lease is signed, tenants get the right to privacy in their rental house. However, certain situations may require the landlord to enter the tenant’s property. Perhaps this is for the necessary maintenance or repair, pest control spray, or to handle an emergency in the rental property.

Regarding State laws on landlord’s entry to rental houses, about half of the states have statutes that specify when and how the landlords can enter the rented property.

Usually, the landlord cannot enter the rental property without proper notice to the tenant. Moreover, both parties must understand the situation and maintain the balance for both the tenant’s and landlord’s rights.

However, there are some general guidelines that landlords should follow while entering the rental property. If you are curious to know when the landlord is allowed to invade the tenant’s privacy, continue reading.

Situations where landlords can enter the rental property

Entering a rental property

For necessary repairs and renovations

Since federal law requires the rental units to be habitable, landlords are responsible for making the property livable. Landlords can enter the unit to maintain hot water, electricity, pest control, climate control, and other items.

For assessing the need to repair and renovate

For repairing anything, an assessment of all the items is done after entering the house. Since it is rare for a landlord to do all the maintenance work personally, the property manager or one of the maintenance staff members can enter the property.

For sale or rental of the property

This is typically done when the lease is nearly up. The landlord is allowed to show his home to prospective clients (tenant or buyer).

When the tenant is away for a long time

The landlord can enter the home if the tenant is away for an extended period of time. This rule is followed in Wyoming, Tennessee, Hawaii, Iowa, Alabama, Florida, the District of Columbia, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Alaska.

In case of emergency

A wide range of circumstances can fit in an emergency. For example, the landlord may enter the house after knowing that 911 is called to your home or sees the tenant’s collapsed body from the window.

Whatever the emergency is, the landlord can enter the rental property, and most tenants would prefer the landlord to check the situation.

Examples of emergencies are:

  • A Fire
  • Sudden flooding at the rental property
  • Natural disaster putting the tenant in danger
  • Gas leak

For safety or health concerns

If the tenant violates the health or safety codes, the landlord can enter the unit to fix those issues.

When granted by a court

The landlord can enter the unit accompanied by a law enforcement officer to issue service of process order for eviction.

➡LEARN MORE: What does a Landlord Cannot Do?

At what time a landlord can enter the rental property?

A landlord is expected to enter the property in reasonable hours. Hours may differ by state, but normally business hours of 9 a.m to 6 p.m are followed. 

When is advance notice needed?

Landlords are required to give the tenant advance notice of at least 24-48 hours before entering. Regardless of whatever the reason is, the landlord should obey this rule. If the state specifies no time period, a reasonable notice before entry is acceptable.

Exceptions to advance notice

However, certain events can lift off this rule and allow the landlord to enter without prior notice, such as:

  • When an emergency arises
  • When a tenant has specifically asked the landlord to repair something and allows the landlord to enter the house outside the business hours too
  • The landlord performing scheduled services mentioned in the lease agreement 
  • Abandoning of the rental unit
  • When the court has granted the landlord access to enter the house 
  • Extermination
  • When the tenant is violating any health or safety codes
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