The reality of being a landlord is that you are responsible for maintenance on your property. The minute you start having renters on board, you have to make sure you give them advanced notice before you or somebody else enters the property. Your property immediately shifts to be the renter’s home once you turn over the keys. In other words, just because it is your Bloomingdale rental property doesn’t mean you can intrude on the lives of your residents without proper notification. Regardless if you were only planning to replace a furnace filter, any unannounced entry could result in your resident levying charges of criminal trespassing.
Definitions of “reasonable notice” vary with state law, so reexamine on the legality of your entry as a landlord. Outline the terms for notice to be given before entry in the lease so you don’t violate your renter’s privacy. For instance, twenty-four hours is the most typical notice requirement for someone who is not the tenant or their guests to access the property, whether the resident is home or not. Some locations further restrict entry to times of the day and days of the week, so make sure you learn and follow the laws in your area in this regard. It may seem like a minor adherence, except pending the alternative, it’s well worth the wait.
There are exceptions to this rule, and it consists of emergency repairs or safety issues, such as faulty wiring that poses a fire hazard, burst pipes leaking into another unit, or broken windows and doors that could affect enough warmth or attract criminal activity. As a landlord, you must keep the residence “habitable,” so your legal obligation may trump the obligation to notify residents of entry. In fact, failure to apply emergency repairs within the time frame stipulated by your state law could constitute neglect.
You and your tenants must also keep your property up to the local building or housing codes. If a lack of maintenance or a renter’s extended absence is affecting heat or ventilation, or broken fixtures are preventing the adequate provision of water or electricity, then as the landlord, you will possibly face penalties for violating standards of living. If your tenants are not upholding the sanitation and structure of your property, seek legal counsel as to whether you have a reasonable right to enter the premises to conduct upkeeps.
An additional exception to criminal trespassing is implied permission. This would cover whether your renter requested repairs or maintenance, which would signify that they anticipated and consented to your entry of the premises. Unless it is explicitly stated in the lease that notice should be provided for all repairs, you may be covered from a liability standpoint. Keep documentation of all maintenance requests to avoid the risk of a lawsuit.
In the end, it is your duty to respect your renter’s possessory rights. It may be your house, but it’s their home. Your property ownership does not give you the authorization to drop by without notice. You must submit proper notification of future entry. Illegal entry can result in fines up to several hundred dollars, or even jail time, depending on your state.
Real Property Management Washington DC not only caters for proper notice and communication with the tenants for routine maintenance, repairs, and property evaluations, we also keep you in the loop about all aspects of your rental property. For more information on how we can make your life manageable, contact us or call us at 202-813-9993.
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