Entry rights can be a tricky topic. For the most part, paying tenants should be entitled to privacy, security, and a quiet place to make a living. There are times, however, when the landlord will have to exercise their right to enter the living space. After all, they own the property and everything on it. This does NOT mean that a landlord can come crashing through the door unannounced, any time of day, on any day of the week. There are laws in place that protect both parties, but each side has a few caveats and conditions. Let’s go over some of these laws now.
First, it’s important to note that we will be discussing the laws in North Carolina. Each state has set its own precedent, and the regulations may differ from state to state. If you’re outside of NC, be sure to double-check your local laws. Generally speaking, if your state does not have any statutes in place explicitly protecting the privacy of tenants, then it can be negotiated into the rental agreement paperwork. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the reasons a landlord might be permitted to enter a tenant’s private space:
- Emergency Situations. Whether it’s a fire or a flood or a medical emergency, I’m sure we can all agree that these types of situations effectively nullify most agreements or regulations in place. Circumstances play a major role in entry laws. If lives are in immediate danger, swift action must be taken and the landlord may enter the living space to assist as needed.
- Maintenance Operations. With proper notice, a tenant will be asked to allow the landlord to perform regular inspections on the property. During this time, the landlord will have free rein as they thoroughly check the living space, appliances, utilities, and overall structural integrity.
- Potential Tenant Walkthrough. If a tenant is moving out, then the landlord may want to show the space to potential future clients, even while the current tenant is still living there. This is perfectly legal and acceptable as long as the landlord gives notice and receives permission from the tenant.
- Although not a common occurrence, a landlord may have reason to believe that the space has been abandoned. Under these unusual circumstances, the landlord would be permitted entry to evaluate, clean, and prepare the space for re-leasing.
Many state laws also stipulate that landlords may only request entry during “reasonable hours.” This typically signifies normal business hours, and weekends are left to the digression of the tenant. Laws and regulations aside, both parties should communicate their needs clearly and treat one another with dignity and respect. That’s all there is to it!
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