You’ve done the hard work to find the right tenants for your rental property. You’ve screened them, collected the deposit, signed the lease, and handed over the keys. So what happens now if you need to gain access? Be it for repairs, inspections, or walk-throughs of any sort, etc., gaining access to your occupied rental comes with strings attached. It’s not as simple as just walking through the front door anymore.
Gaining Access and Tenant Rights
Once a property is leased, a tenant’s right to peacefully enjoy the property kicks in. Essentially, this means you as the landlord can’t stop by whenever you want. There are steps that must be followed before you set foot in your occupied rental. So what do you do?
Whether maintenance repairs need to be addressed or you need to have an appraiser stop by to complete your refinance, proper notice must be provided to your tenants. Many locations require a landlord to provide “reasonable notice” before entering the property. The definition of what’s “reasonable” varies depending on where you are and upon the situation, so it’s important to do your research. For example, reasonable notice for a non-emergency situation may be 24 hours, while emergency situations may require less or immediate access in order to preserve the condition of the property or for safety reasons.
The length of time required depends on state and local laws as well as your lease language, so be sure to check what’s required PRIOR to signing the lease. Your lease should also clearly address your ability to gain access by including thorough and well-written re-entry and access provisions. If you’re unsure how to proceed, review your lease and any access laws with a real estate attorney to make sure you’ve covered all of your bases.
It’s Their Home
Regardless of the fact that you own the property, it’s the tenant’s home. Invading their space by not following proper access procedures can come with hefty consequences. Make sure to do your homework, review your lease with proper counsel, and address gaining access with your tenants.