When Does a Landlord Have the Right to Enter a Rental Unit?

Landlords should consult state laws regarding assigned rights to enter a tenant's rental unit. Some states have strict regulations that protect tenant privacy, while others have no laws prohibiting a landlord from entering a tenant's rental unit at any time. Under standard tenant privacy laws, landlords must seek permission ahead of time from the tenant before entering a rental unit. Landlords can enter rental spaces during emergencies, to make repairs, conduct property showings and check for abandonment.

Rental agreement privacy clauses often state that landlords must give tenants a written notice of entry at least 24 hours in advance. The notice should include the date of arrival, time and purpose for the visit, and landlord visits typically occur during normal business hours. Generally, landlords can enter rental units during an emergency situation that requires protecting the property from damage.

Tenants are required to accommodate landlord requests to show a rental unit to prospective tenants or buyers, but showings should not be overly disruptive to tenants. Landlords are legally protected when entering a rental property deemed abandoned by the tenant. States can give landlords the right to make needed repairs to rental property while tenants are away for an extended period of time. As long as landlords follow tenant privacy laws to the letter, tenants cannot refuse a landlord's reasonable request for access.