Can a Landlord Enter a Tenant’s Home?

Once a lease is entered into, a landlord and a tenant have various legal rights intertwined with one another.  In order to keep civility during the life of a lease, it is important to recognize the rights of each party. One of the more common controversies seen in landlord/tenant court is whether the landlord can enter into the tenant’s apartment.

A landlord may want to enter a tenant’s apartment for various reasons.  One of the more frequent reasons is when the landlord suspects destructive or illegal activities occurring on their property.  While the right to enter the tenant’s premises to prevent such activities seems obvious, the landlord does not have carte blanche to invade the privacy of their tenant.  If you are a tenant who feels the landlord is invading your home wrongfully, it is important to understand your rights as a tenant.

In New York, the rules are clear as to when a landlord may enter the home of a tenant.  For instance, the law gives a landlord a clear right to enter the apartment for an emergency such as a busted water pipe or a fire.  In those cases, the landlord does not need permission to enter the home.  However, if there is a required repair that does not reach the level of an emergency, the landlord must give the tenant “reasonable” notice.  In many cases, the court has found one-week to be sufficient notice.  Another instance where a landlord may seek to enter the property is to show your home to prospective renters.  Again, reasonable notice is required; but in these cases, the court has found 24 hours to be sufficient.

Regardless of when the landlord seeks to enter the home, they may only enter the property at a reasonable time of the day.  For example, the courts typically find an entry between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to be reasonable.  Conversely, the court has found entrances as early as 8 p.m. to be unreasonable, depending on the situation.

If a tenant feels that a landlord is not respecting their right to privacy, there are several solutions. The first and easiest solution is to sit down and talk it out with the landlord.  Most of these situations can be handled by discussing the situation and planning a schedule by which the landlord can enter the apartment.  If the talk does not work, it is recommended that the tenant send a letter to the landlord acknowledging the concerns with the entry.  It will be important to save copies of these letters in case you need to resort to the last option, pursuing your legal remedies. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the improper entrance, a tenant may be able to break their lease. The tenant may additionally get their security deposit back following a breach of their privacy.

If you are a landlord or tenant concerned with entry into an apartment, contact an experienced landlord/tenant attorney for help.  The Long Island real estate and landlord/tenant lawyers of McGuire, Peláez & Bennett, PC are sensitive to your needs, skilled in handling real estate matters, and will fight zealously for your rights. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our Central Islip real estate lawyers at (631) 348-1702 or fill out our contact form.

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