Notifying Tenants Before Entering a Property

Reblogger Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Property Manager with Gibson Management Group, Ltd.

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!

Original content by Zach Devine

Notifying Tenants Before Entering a Property

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 (A Service of AppFolio)



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Conrad Allen
Re/Max Professional Associates - Webster, MA
Webster, Ma, Realtor

Hi Wallace.  We find out how onerous this can trying to sell a tenant occupied property.  Getting in can be an issue.

Jun 07, 2012 08:23 PM #1
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel
Landlords should respect the privacy of their tenants. Most leases specify that they should be given notice by landlords.
Jun 07, 2012 08:26 PM #2
Sussie Sutton
UTR Texas Realtors - Pearland, TX
UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers.

I don't manage rentals but I would be really respectful of this rule!

When I rented a home some years ago now... the land lord (an ornery old man) would enter the home while we were away when ever he wanted. Why? To this day I have no idea. Upon leaving he would leave the door open. At the time I had a 4th grade latch key kid coming home to an empty home. This really scared her and me. I agonized over someone hiding in the home in wait for the next person coming home while I was at work.

We finally had to leave the rental for this very reason. It was sad because I liked the home and neighborhood.

Jun 07, 2012 10:38 PM #3
Scott Fogleman
New Home Team 804-573-9592 - Richmond, VA
New Home Team

Wallace, thanks for reblogging this as I missed it the first time

Jun 07, 2012 11:06 PM #4
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


There is almost no reason to enter a home without their prior knowledge.  An emergency in the only case we've done that.  In one instance an alarm that was going off and they were overseas on vacation.  The alarm company contacted us and we met the police there.  Obviously, not a pleasure trip, but the good news, it was a false alarm.

All the best, Michelle

Jun 08, 2012 12:16 AM #5
Mark Delgado
houses for rent, Solano County & Glen Cove - Benicia, CA
Benicia and Vallejo, Property Management, rental h

I am constantly amazed by how many people disagree with this law! That mentality of "it's my house and I can enter whenever I want" can be hard to clear out of some people's heads.

Jun 09, 2012 02:25 AM #6
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