Respecting Tenant Privacy

Services for Real Estate Pros with AppFolio, Inc.

When you own a property, you may feel as though you’ve got the right to access it any time you want - after all, there’s a mortgage and a deed in your name. But you can’t just go strolling in whenever you feel like it, unfortunately. Why isn’t this an option, you ask?

  • The property is your tenant’s home – despite your ownership status, your tenants are paying you rent, and it is essential that you recognize that the home is theirs. You wouldn’t have the right to just walk in on your neighbors unannounced, and the same applies in this instance. Of course you may worry about the state of the home. That is only natural, especially when you’ve got new tenants. But that’s why you put a damage policy in your lease!
  • Tenants have a right to privacy – there are things that tenants may have in their homes that they aren’t interested in having their landlord see. Provided these are not things that break any laws, they do have a right to this kind of privacy. You wouldn’t like someone to have uninhibited access to all of your personal items, so give tenants the same respect.
  • You need to give notice – even when you’ve got a legitimate need to enter, the reality is that, in most cases, you cannot do so unless you give at least 24 hours notice. It’s their home, and you just don’t have the option to disturb any plans they have without at least providing warning.
  • You can only enter without notice for an emergency – if there is a flood or fire, you can break down the door (well, that may be a little bit extreme). But, realistically, if you’ve got to save your property, you do have the right to do so, particularly if the tenants living there cannot be reached. There are landlords out there who believe an “emergency” is an open window on a rainy day, but that just isn’t a good enough reason. Even a bug infestation reported by a tenant can wait. Sure, damage could occur if you don’t close the window, but your tenant is responsible for that. It just isn’t a good enough reason to invade their privacy!
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Zach Devine, Marketing (A Service of AppFolio)

 AppFolio Property Manager

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Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

I am so surprised how many real estate agents take a listing of a tenant occupied home and never ask if they can photograph the resident's belongings in their marketing photos....NEVER

May 21, 2012 08:17 PM #1
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Zach Devine

AppFolio Property Management Software
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