As a renter, privacy and safety should be two of your top concerns. To ensure your physical privacy, meaning your landlord does not show up unannounced or enter your apartment without your explicit permission, do research on your landlord before signing your lease, and read below to know your rights and how to protect them.
Your physical privacy from a landlord is protected on a state level. For more detail on your particular state, visit this site to learn more. In most cases, your landlord can enter your property to:
- make repairs
- inspect the property for safety / maintenance
- show the unit to a prospective tenant or purchaser toward the end of your lease
Your landlord must also provide “reasonable” notice before entering your property (24-48 hours in most states), and many will request your permission before doing so. Their notice tends to be enough of a heads up for tenants to feel comfortable, especially since landlords generally enter properties to make repairs or check safety concerns. There are also state-approved hours that your landlord can request to visit; in most states they are daylight hours, meaning your landlord can’t request to come over in the middle of the night.
In the case of a true emergency (think fire), they may enter without giving notice.
End of lease showings
If your property is up for sale or you are near the end of your lease, landlords generally have to provide written notice and provide the detail to you 24-48 hours before any showings of your property to prospective buyers or renter.
Unannounced visits or harassment
Your landlords’ policy (within the law) should be clearly spelled out in your lease. Before you sign it, ask about the clause and make sure you agree to their terms. If not, discuss changes with the landlord or choose another apartment to rent. However, if your landlord continuously shows up unannounced for non-specific or unnecessary reasons, changing locks or withholding rent are not allowable responses. You may want to contact a lawyer to learn about your options.
And, there are caveats to all of these laws. The best advice is to work with your landlord, but do some research if you feel your rights are being violated. For some more detail, check out this page.