When and How Often Can a Landlord Access a Tenant Occupied Property
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property_management_featureEven though you are the rightful owner of your Chico rental property, the law is quite clear on when and how often you can access that property when it is occupied by a tenant.

Each state has set up strict limits on the regulations regarding accessing the property, and violating that can actually be illegal. Before you enter your occupied rental property, make sure you are familiar with the conditions imposed by your state.

Entering for Maintenance and Upkeep:

Performing maintenance and upkeep tasks on the rental property is your right as the owner, but the means by which you gain entrance to the property is conditional upon providing the tenant enough notice.

Most states require that landlords deliver a written notice of the intent to enter at least 24 hours in advance, what is considered a reasonable time period. Your right to enter is also limited to normal business hours—between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on weekdays only.

Some states require that landlords can only give a notice to enter if there is actual maintenance to perform. You can’t perform a surprise inspection or a walk through with no intent to repair anything. If you enter the rental property for maintenance and the tenant is not home, it’s required in some states that you leave evidence of your entry, such as a note or signed business card, for the tenant.

Entering if There is an Emergency:

In very limited circumstances, you can enter the rental property if there is an emergency that would cause damage to the property or harm to a person if you did not take care of it.

An example of this might be accessing an upper floor apartment because the downstairs tenant reports water dripping from the ceiling. In an emergency, you can enter the property at any time, any day of the week, whether the tenant is home or not.

You do not have to deliver a written notice to enter in an emergency, but it’s always a good idea to document your actions with a written letter explaining the circumstances and what you did to resolve the problem.

Entering to Show Your Property to Buyers:

When you decide to sell your rental property, the law allows you to show it to prospective buyers, even if it is occupied by a tenant. However, the conditions of entry are strict as well.

To let your tenant know of your intent to sell, you must deliver a written notice in advance. Each state has differing time limits.

For example, in California it is 120 days. After that, you must give the tenant a written notice or an oral notice at least 24 hours in advance that you intend to bring potential buyers into the unit. Stick to normal business hours and only on weekends.

You can work additional scheduling out with the tenant and should only deviate with the tenant’s permission.

Review Landlord/Tenant Rights in Your State:

While entering your own property may seem like a non-issue, it’s actually a big deal to tenants who sign a lease agreement. They are entitled to quiet enjoyment of the property and are also protected from unwanted or unlawful entry—even from the owner or landlord. Protect yourself and your business by sticking to the established guidelines in your state for landlord entry.