Tenants' Rights to Privacy and Repairs FAQ

When may a landlord enter rental property? Is advance notice required?

Landlords can enter rented premises only in the following circumstances:

  • to make needed repairs (or in some states, just to determine whether repairs are necessary)
  • in cases of emergency, or
  • to show the property to prospective new tenants or purchasers.

Several states also allow landlords or property managers the right of entry during a tenant's extended absence (often defined as seven days or more) to maintain the property as necessary and to inspect for damage and needed repairs. In most cases, a landlord may not enter just to check up on the tenant and the rental property.

States that regulate landlords' access require landlords to provide advance notice (usually 24 hours) before entering a rental unit. (See Nolo's Chart: Notice Requirements to Enter Rental Property, State by State.) In most states, without advance notice, a landlord or manager may enter rented premises while a tenant is living there only in an emergency -- such as a fire or serious water leak -- or when the tenant gives permission.

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