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By John R. Merlino Jr. Esq.
Founding Attorney

When is it lawful for a landlord to enter rented property?

As a landlord, you have certain rights to enter your leased property.  Being able to enter the home is critical when it comes to making repairs and inspecting the premises, but entry at just anytime is not permitted under New York law.  Landlords must comply with basic laws as to proper entry so that they do not infringe on the rights of the tenant.  Further, a landlord needs to understand what remedies he or she may seek if a tenant is refusing to allow entrance to the property.  Our real estate lawyers at Merlino & Gonzalez explore the landlord’s right to entry below.

Reasonable Notice

New York has stringent laws when it pertains to tenants’ privacy.  Under normal circumstances, a landlord cannot enter a tenant’s home unless the landlord provides reasonable notice.  New York law provides that a landlord will need to provide a tenant with reasonable notice of his or her right to enter the premise for the purpose of a necessary repair, inspection, or to show the home to prospective tenants or buyers.

The New York Attorney General’s office has held that “reasonable” means one week’s notice for repairs and 24 hours notice for inspections.  As a landlord, you will need to provide the tenant with reasonable notice in writing of your intent to enter.  You should include the reason for your requested access as well.  Reasonable times to enter are interpreted as between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

An exception exists when the landlord must enter the home or apartment in response to an emergency.  Emergencies could include a fire or water leak. Under these circumstances, New York courts hold that it is reasonable and in both parties’ best interests to allow the landlord to respond immediately to avoid further property damage.  Additionally, a landlord can enter the home with less than 24 hours notice or no notice at all if the tenant invites the landlord to enter.

Failure to abide by these laws could result in legal action by the tenant.  Your tenant may be able to lawfully vacate the premises because you have violated the warranty of habitability by breaching the tenant’s privacy.  On the other hand, if your tenant refuses to let you enter despite compliance with the requisite notice laws, you may need to take legal action, which could include evicting the tenant.  Contact a real estate lawyer for further assistance with any landlord-tenant dispute.

About the Author
John is a fierce advocate and the office guru for problem-solving and brainstorming. He guides clients through every stage of a real estate transaction from offer to contract, navigating through nerve-shattering home inspection and title clearance concerns, maintaining constant contact with lenders, conducting the actual closing, and continuing to advise clients with regard to any post-closing concerns.  John brings a practical and fair-minded approach to the process which has earned him the respect of his clients and peers.