Question: I keep finding my landlord entering my apartment and he’s doing so without my permission. What can I do?
The Rental Girl: Your landlord can legally enter your unit IF he gives you reasonable notice (“reasonable” is considered to be 24 hour notice). He does not need your permission. If you have requested a repair, he can come in to make the repair without getting your permission. A landlord can also enter a unit without 24-hour notice or permission if there is an emergency: pipe leak, gas smell, animal in distress, etc.
However, if a landlord is entering your unit without giving you proper notice or without a legal reason, you do have recourse. You should contact the Los Angeles Housing Department: 1-866-557-RENT.
Keep in mind: if you are renting a single family home or an apartment with an outdoor space, the landlord does NOT have to give notice to come on the property. He only has to give notice to enter your actual dwelling unit. Also, if you change the locks or prevent the owner from entering your unit and he has a legal right to enter then you could be in violation of your lease and this could be grounds for eviction.
Here is what the California Consumer Affairs website has to say on landlords entering your unit:
When a landlord rents out a property to a tenant, they give up possession of the property. By law, your landlord must respect your privacy. However, a landlord does have a right to enter in certain situations. You should cooperate with your landlord if he has a valid reason to request entry.
When the landlord can enter
Your landlord can enter your rental unit for these reasons:
- To respond to an emergency that threatens life or property.
- To make repairs or alterations that are necessary or that you have agreed to.
- To show the place to potential buyers, tenants, or repair workers.
- If you have given permission to enter.
- If you have abandoned the premises or if your landlord has obtained a court order.
24-hour notice required
The landlord must give you 24-hour advance written notice before entering. The notice should state a specific time of entry, which must be during normal business hours.
If there is an emergency, 24-hour advance notice is not required. For example, if your rental unit is on fire or is flooding, your landlord can enter without advance notice.
Abuse of the right to enter
The landlord cannot abuse the right of entry or use it to harass you. If you feel your landlord has abused the right of entry, you should discuss this with them. Show them this information. Ask them to provide written notice as required by law and to only enter for legitimate business purposes. If your landlord continues to violate the right to enter, you can contact the police and file a report. You can also call us for assistance.
Civil Code 1954
Contact us for more information or speak with one of our counselors at (800) 593-8222. If you live outside of Southern California, call us at (213) 974-1452.
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