While a landlord can generally enter a rental property during an emergency without the consent of the tenant, landlords can also enter the property at other times if the tenant grants consent. When a landlord can inspect a rental property depends upon the laws of the state where the property is located. Talk to an attorney in your area for legal advice about your rights as a landlord or a tenant.
When a renter agrees to rent a property from a landlord, the renter is entitled to use the property without the landlord's undue interference. This is generally known as the right or covenant of quiet enjoyment. Landlords who violate a tenant's quiet enjoyment rights by, for example, entering the premises without the tenant's consent or without proper authority, are subject to penalties depending on state law. For example, Washington law provides that for each instance a landlord violates a tenant's right to quiet enjoyment, the landlord is subject to a $100 fine, as well as the costs and attorney's fees incurred by the tenant, according to Revised Code of Washington section 59.18.150.
Landlords generally have the right to enter or inspect a rental property in the event of an emergency. In such situations, the landlord does not have to provide prior notice to the tenant that she is going to enter the property. For example, the City of Boulder provides landlords with a model lease that conforms with Colorado's landlord tenant laws. The lease states that a landlord can enter a property without first notifying a tenant if the landlord reasonably believes an emergency exists. Examples of an emergency include a fire, broken water pipe or abandonment of the premises by the tenant.
Inspect or Repair
A landlord can also enter the rental property to make repairs, conduct inspections of the property or show the property to potential tenants, but he must first obtain the current tenant's consent. In general, the tenant has a duty to not unreasonably withhold consent or otherwise interfere with the landlord's duty to make repairs or inspections. This essentially means that the landlord and tenant should cooperate when the landlord makes a request to enter the property, and neither party should unduly interfere with the other party's rights and obligations.
In some situations, a tenant may have an obligation to grant permission to the landlord to enter the property to make inspections. For example, according to the City of Boulder, Colorado, tenants have an obligation to allow the landlord to enter if the landlord is performing reasonable inspections or repairs related to keeping the property in compliance with the city's housing code.
Roger Thorne is an attorney who began freelance writing in 2003. He has written for publications ranging from "MotorHome" magazine to "Cruising World." Thorne specializes in writing for law firms, Web sites, and professionals. He has a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas.