The right of a landlord to enter a rental dwelling is not unrestricted. California law specifies that an apartment or other rental dwelling may be entered by a landlord under certain conditions:
- With Consent of the Renter. Since the rental unit is a home, the Tenant has the right to invite a Landlord inside just as any other guest. In many cases, the relationship between the Landlord and Tenant is a good one and legal formalities can be waived. A reasonable landlord will explain to the tenant why he or she wants to come in and will usually be invited in or a reasonable accommodation will be made. As long as both parties are reasonable and respect each other’s rights and responsibilities, this is often the preferred way of handling this matter.
- In An Emergency. A Landlord has the right to enter a rental dwelling in the case of an emergency. An emergency would be some situation where immediate action is required to protect a life or to prevent the destruction of property. Typically, these situations including things like a fire, a gas or water leak.
- For Needed Repairs. A Landlord is allowed to enter a rental dwelling to make any needed repairs and to perform required maintenance, usually upon reasonable notice. This would also include the right of the landlord to inspect the property to assess the need for the repairs.
- To Show the Property. The Landlord may also enter to show the property to prospective new tenants or purchasers. Again, reasonable notice is required.
- Upon Court Order. A Landlord may enter a dwelling if he or she has a court order allowing it. The reasons a court might issue such an order are varied. In most cases a hearing is required and you would likely receive legal papers notifying you of the hearing in advance. Should you ever receive legal papers of this type, it would be wise to consult with an attorney immediately.
- In Event of Tenant Abandonment. The Landlord has the right to enter a rental dwelling that has been abandoned by the Tenant.
- Required Notice. In California, the Tenant is entitled to a reasonable amount of notice before the Landlord enters a rental dwelling. The courts have legally interpreted this to mean at least twenty-four (24) hours’ notice. In the case of entry pursuant to Court Order, the judge will usually specify what notice, if any, need to be given.