In the "olden days" I would actually go to the property and post a notice on the entry door....NOW, I just e-mail. Making sure to get his and her e-mails - personal and business - is the KEY!
You may think that, since an investment property is yours, you have the right to enter it anytime the mood strikes. However, the reality of having a tenant is that your property is by law their home, and you can’t just go barging in. So what can you do?
Well, the guidelines DO vary state by state, but the moral of the story is this: you must give the tenant notice. Specifically, most states require that you give at least 24 hours notice if you want to enter the property for any reason that is not an emergency. There are some states that do not give a set guideline for required notice – they simply indicate a ‘reasonable amount of time’. California has drafted their legislation this way, and it is generally assumed that ‘a reasonable amount of time’ equates to 24 hours. There is no set guideline for how frequently you can enter the property, but keeping your presence to a minimum is courteous to the tenant. Being efficient and coordinating your visits will make your tenant happier, and a happy tenant is a good tenant.
The only exception to the 24-hours-notice rule is if there is an emergency or if the tenant asks you to. A fire, flood, or break-in to the house may constitute an emergency where it is necessary for you to enter with little to no notice given to the tenant. It’s fair to say that when there’s any imposed risk that your house may fall down, you can enter the premises! Routine maintenance, on the other hand, does not constitute an exception to the rule.
What you should know as well is that the tenant always has the right to be there. After all, it is their home and they’re paying you for the space and freedom to do what they want. All you can do is be respectful of their space when you do enter the home, and know that it’s possible you will have to work around them to some degree when completing maintenance or other tasks. If you know that a particular property will require you to be in and out of a tenant’s space frequently, it’s probably a good idea to mention that during the rental application process. That way a tenant will be less likely to complain later. If you have a good tenant, you want to hang onto them and have them on your side, so respect their home as you’d want someone to respect yours!
Zach Devine, Marketing
RentApp.com (A Service of AppFolio)