Insurance & Real Estate Law

The Right to Enter

There are property owners who are under the impression they can enter their investment property without a reason at any time or without notice because they “own” the property. Savvy investors know this actually is not the case and blatantly entering a tenant’s residence can lead to costly legal situations. Every landlord does have the right to enter his or her rental property—under the right circumstances.

Implied in all residential rental contracts is the “covenant of quiet use and enjoyment.” This covenant means two things:

  1. That the landlord guarantees that the tenant can take possession of the rental unit and has the right to privacy and exclusive use and possession of that rental property, and
  2. The landlord will not interfere with the tenant’s privacy and the right to exclusive possession.

Many tenants do not realize that a landlord does have a legal right to enter his tenant’s rental unit for specific reasons. In all states, a landlord or manager may enter rented premises while the tenant is living there without advance notice in the case of emergency, such as a fire, flood, or endangerment to the residents. Of course, a landlord may enter when a tenant gives permission.

All states have laws specifically detailing when and why landlords and/or property managers can enter a property. While many are similar, they do vary and generally provide for specific reasons. Here is a site to check different states.

It may not seem fair to the property owner but keep this in perspective. When you rent to a tenant, it becomes their residence. After all, how would you feel if someone decided to drop in to see home for any reason at any time? It probably would generate discomfort and perhaps animosity.

So, what is really the best way to handle seeing your investment? First, remember to treat your tenants with respect. Notify us if you want to visit your property and why. We find notifying residents with a friendly call, email, or letter generally gains their cooperation and eliminates negative feelings. Remember, even the best tenants can be nervous about a visit from the landlord and/or property manager.

In our experience, if we notify tenants properly and give them a reasonable explanation, most will not deny entry. Then if this does not take care of the problem and there is a legitimate reason or possible tenant issue, we will follow the law and post the property correctly.

We do ask you to give us advance notice when possible so we can do our job properly. Remember, just wanting to visit your property is not a valid reason for entry – just give us time to set up a positive landlord/tenant experience.