Question

Can a landlord let anyone enter your apartment without notice or consent?

Last Friday our landlord let someone into our apartment to fix a hole they'd left in our ceiling (for 2 months, I might add!). There was no notice, no consent, they didn't even bother to call and tell us. We found out when we got home Friday afternoon and saw they'd moved our things out of the way and put up a peice of wood and some plaster.

Now I -did- get a call from them on Friday, but the voicemail states that they weren't going to be doing anything until today and tomorrow.

Anyone have opinions on what can be done about this, if anything? We're very upset, how can someone just enter your home any time they wanted? We're fairly certain they've done it once before. A lock we -always- lock on the way out was unlocked one day when we came home. It's a tricky lock, and the door has to be pulled to get it to work, so they might not have known that.

We like this apartment and it's location. But we are very displeased with our landlord's way of handling things.
The lease -does- state we should be notified 24 hours in advance of anyone entering the apartment.
No, we were not in the apartment. It was empty. We were both at work when this happened.
However, just to even the playing field, it -was- for a repair. There was a leak in our ceiling they'd fixed two months ago, and are just now getting around to fixing the hole they'd left afterwards.

6 years ago - 23 answers

Best Answer

Chosen by Asker

They can enter, and only during normal business hours. The landlord has to notify you, call, or a note on the door.

The repair man is not just "anyone", they needed to fix their property and are allowed to hire professionals to do that.

6 years ago

Other Answers

No

by toietmoi - 6 years ago

Were you there?

by 81 Honda - 6 years ago

First of all it's illegal for even the landlord to enter without permission so you should talk to a lawyer maybe.

by ♥♪♫♦puddles♦♫♪♥ - 6 years ago

They MUST inform you of entering a home! Confront your landlord! They know the law and they know their lease. Also tell them the door was not locked. They would be responsible for anything taken from your home.

by jo-jo - 6 years ago

WARRANTY OF HABITABILITY

Tenants are entitled to a livable, safe and sanitary apartment. Lease provisions inconsistent with this right are illegal. Failure to provide heat or hot water on a regular basis, or to rid an apartment of insect infestation are examples of a violation of this warranty. Public areas of the building are also covered by the warranty of habitability. The warranty of habitability also applies to cooperative apartments, but not to condominiums. Any uninhabitable condition caused by the tenant or persons under his direction or control does not constitute a breach of the warranty of habitability. In such a case, it is the responsibility of the tenant to remedy the condition. (Real Property Law §235-b)

If a landlord breaches the warranty, the tenant may sue for a rent reduction. The tenant may also withhold rent, but in response, the landlord may sue the tenant for non-payment of rent. In such a case, the tenant may countersue for breach of the warranty.

Rent reductions may be ordered if a court finds that the landlord violated the warranty of habitability. The reduction is computed by subtracting from the actual rent the estimated value of the apartment without the essential services.

A landlord's liability for damages is limited when the failure to provide services is the result of a union-wide building workers' strike. However, a court may award damages to a tenant equal to a share of the landlord's net savings because of the strike. Landlords will be liable for lack of services caused by a strike when they have not made a good faith attempt, where practicable, to provide services.

In emergencies, tenants may make necessary repairs and deduct reasonable repair costs from the rent. For example, when a landlord has been notified that a door lock is broken and willfully neglects to repair it, the tenant may hire a locksmith and deduct the cost from the rent. Tenants should keep receipts for such repairs.

LANDLORDS' DUTY OF REPAIR

Landlords of buildings with three or more apartments must keep the apartments and the buildings' public areas in "good repair" and clean and free of vermin, garbage or other offensive material. Landlords are required to maintain electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating systems and appliances landlords install, such as refrigerators and stoves in good and safe working order. Tenants should bring complaints to the attention of their local housing officials. (Multiple Dwelling Law (MDL) §78 and §80; Multiple Residence Law (MRL) §174. The MDL applies to cities with a population of 325,000 or more and the MRL applies to cities with less than 325,000 and to all towns and villages.)

LEAD PAINT

Landlords of apartments in multiple dwellings in New York City where a child 6 years old or younger lives must protect against the possibility that children will be poisoned by peeling of dangerous lead based paint. Landlords must remove or cover apartment walls and other areas where lead based paint is peeling. The law presumes that lead based paint was used in the apartment if the building was built prior to January 1, 1960. (NYC Health Code §173.14) Landlords must provide all tenants with a pamphlet prepared by the federal Environmental Protection Agency which warns the tenants of the hazards of lead based paint and a disclosure form advising what the landlord knows about the presence of lead based paint in the apartment and building.


SAFETY
CRIME PREVENTION

Landlords are required to take minimal precautions to protect against foreseeable criminal harm. For example, tenants who are victims of crimes in their building or apartment, and who are able to prove that the criminal was an intruder and took advantage of the fact that the entrance to the building was negligently maintained by the landlord, may be able to recover damages from the landlord.

ENTRANCE DOOR LOCKS AND INTERCOMS

Multiple dwellings which were built or converted to such use after January 1, 1968 must have automatic self-closing and self-locking doors at all entrances. These doors must be kept locked at all times -- except when an attendant is on duty.

If this type of building contains eight or more apartments it must also have a two-way voice intercom system from each apartment to the front door and tenants must be able to "buzz" open the entrance door for visitors.

Multiple dwellings built or converted to such use prior to January 1, 1968 also must have self-locking doors and a two-way intercom system if requested by a majority of the tenants. Landlords may recover from tenants the cost of providing this equipment. (Multiple Dwelling Law §50-a)

LOBBY ATTENDANT SERVICE

Tenants of multiple dwellings with eight or more apartments, are entitled to maintain a lobby attendant service for their safety and security, whenever any attendant provided by the landlord is not on duty. (Multiple Dwelling Law §50-c)

ELEVATOR MIRRORS

There must be a mirror in each self-service elevator in multiple dwellings so that people may see -- prior to entering --if anyone is already in the elevator. (Multiple Dwelling Law §51-b; NYC Admin. Code §27-2042)

INDIVIDUAL LOCKS, PEEPHOLES AND MAIL

Tenants in multiple dwellings can install and maintain their own locks on their apartment entrance doors in addition to the lock supplied by the landlord. The lock may be no more than three inches in circumference, and tenants must provide their landlord with a duplicate key upon request.

The landlord must provide a peephole in the entrance door of each apartment. Landlords of multiple dwellings in New York City must also install a chain-door guard on the entrance door to each apartment, so as to permit partial opening of the door. (Multiple Dwelling Law §51-c; NYC Admin. Code §27-2043)

United States Postal regulations require landlords of buildings containing three or more apartments to provide secure mail boxes for each apartment unless the management has arranged to distribute the mail to each apartment. Landlords must keep the mail boxes and locks in good repair.

SMOKE DETECTORS

Outside New York City and in Buffalo, each apartment in a multiple dwelling (three or more apartments) must be equipped by the landlord with at least one smoke detector that is clearly audible in any sleeping area. (Multiple Residence Law §15; Buffalo Code Ch. 395)

Landlords of multiple dwellings in New York City must also install one or more approved smoke detectors in each apartment near each room used for sleeping. Tenants may be asked to reimburse the owner up to $10.00 for the cost of purchasing and installing each battery-operated detector. During the first year of use, landlords must repair or replace any broken detector if its malfunction is not the tenant's fault. Tenants should test their detectors frequently to make sure they work properly. (NYC Admin. Code §27-2045, §27-2046)

WINDOW GUARDS

Landlords of multiple dwellings in New York City must install government approved window guards in each window in any apartment where a child ten years old or younger lives. Tenants are required to have such guards installed. In other cases, landlords are required to install window guards provided the tenant requests them. Windows giving access to fire escapes are excluded. Protective guards must also be installed on the windows of all public hallways. Landlords must give tenants an annual notice about their rights to window guards and must provide this information in a lease rider. Rent controlled and stabilized tenants may be charged for these guards. (NYC Health Code §131.15)


TENANT'S PERSONAL RIGHTS
TENANTS' ORGANIZATIONS

Tenants have a legal right to organize. They may form, join, and participate in tenants' organizations for the purpose of protecting their rights. Landlords may not harass or penalize tenants who exercise this right. Tenants' groups have the right to meet in any common area in their building, such as lobbies and halls, in a peaceful manner, at reasonable hours without obstructing access to the premises or facilities. (Real Property Law §230)

RETALIATION

Landlords are prohibited from harassing or retaliating against tenants who exercise their rights. For example, landlords may not seek to evict tenants solely because tenants (a) make good faith complaints to a government agency about violations of any health or safety laws; or (b) take good faith actions to protect rights under their lease; or (c) participate in tenants' organizations. Tenants may collect damages from landlords who violate this law, which applies to all rentals except owner-occupied dwellings with fewer than four units. (Real Property Law §223-b)

RIGHT TO PRIVACY

Tenants have the right to privacy within their apartments. A landlord, however, may enter a tenant's apartment with reasonable prior notice, and at a reasonable time: (a) to provide necessary or agreed upon repairs or services; or (b) in accordance with the lease; or (c) to show the apartment to prospective purchasers or tenants. In emergencies, such as fires, the landlord may enter the apartment without the tenant's consent. A landlord may not abuse this limited right of entry or use it to harass a tenant. A landlord may not interfere with the installation of cable television facilities. (Public Service Law §228) .

DISCRIMINATION

Landlords may not refuse to rent to anyone or renew leases of, or otherwise discriminate against, any person or group of persons because of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, marital status or familial status. (Executive Law §296 (5)) In addition, in New York City, tenants are further protected against discrimination with respect to lawful occupation, sexual orientation or immigration status. Aggrieved tenants may complain to the New

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by Slacker - 6 years ago

Yes, but if he does this too often you may have to call his attention and if he doesn't want to understand then try and scare him that you have to move because of his behavior and warn others about his actions....Go to court if it gets out of hand...

by Fiersteh - 6 years ago

They have to give reasonable notice, and if the lease says they must give 24 hours notice, then they are in default and you could get out of the lease. Call them and talk to them.

by Elaine K - 6 years ago

This was illegal - its not his property when he lets it - its yours. He is obligated to provide notice that he will require access to your house. While you can't deny him access, as long as he gives notice it's ok, he can't just walk in when he wants though.

by mark90_2k2 - 6 years ago

As long as the lease states that the landlord can enter your apt. with notice to fix or check on things, then there really is nothing you can do. We make sure that our tentants know that the lease states that we as the landlords have access to the apt. to perform routine maintenance and upkeep.
You should communicate with your landlord and let them know that you would prefer to be there when someone unknown is going to be let in and see if they will negotiate with you to allow this. Good luck.

by jbrutada - 6 years ago

If you had communication with the landlord about the hole and he said he would come and fix it but did so a day or two early, let it go. You maybe want to tell them to call before they come in and to tell you if there will be a change in scheduling. But with that said, they have to give you notice prior to entering your unit, unless they have a probable cause there is something really wrong like water leaks etc. Look at the lease and discuss it with them and let them know you are concerned about it. It might just be a misunderstanding.

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by Old Kid - 6 years ago

He have no right to do so ,even a person who didn't show up for long time landlords cant open apartment without consulting police first.
it happened that a tenant was in jail closed apt for months without paying rent we had to go jail to get his approval or appoint some one from his side to go there

by raha - 6 years ago

Your home is supposed to be your castle even if it's rented and a landlord can not simply open your door any time he or she pleases.

Send the landlord a formal letter stating that you are upset with his allowing entrance into your suite without notice. Let him know that you are either considering consulting a lawyer about this invasion of your privacy or alternatively you can let him know in the letter that while you are not considering legal action at this time, he should be mindful of the possibility in the future.

I think that by sending a letter, ,you create a written record (keep a copy for yourself) of your complaint so that if it does happen again, you have incredibly good legal footing in a court as you can show that you tried to resolve this problem without going to court first.

That being said, I would consider it important to make sure the letter is not threatening or adversarial. Preface the letter with a paragraph or two explaining that you are currently pleased with the apartment. Make sure to be diplomatic but clear.

If you do wish to proceed with legal action straight away, I would simply consult a lawyer. It's fairly cut and dry . All you have to do is find out what contractor was used and ask them to verify the time they entered. If the landlord did the repair on his own, it will be your word against his that he did not produce a notice for you as he could easily say he did.

by Ethan E - 6 years ago

It IS against the rules for him to allow anyone into your apartment without your permission unless it's stated in your lease agreement (which from what you say it isn't) UNLESS the landord is served a search warrant for that property. OR if something problematic for other residents is origination in your apartment (like a water leak that's running into other apartments or perhaps even a blaring stereo that was left (or came) on while you were on vacation) That was obviously not the case here, so yes...he violated your contract by doing so. You could probably sue him, and get your deposit back or something, but I'd actually recommend just getting out of the apartment as soon as possible. Find another apartment and get ou of that one. You don't need to be constantly worrying about your landlord screwing you over on stuff. Especially in an age where landlords keep getting busted for installing unlawfull surveilance cameras in their tenants residences....
Given you have examples of him breaking the terms of contract....you should be able to get out with your deposit (as long as you haven't damaged the property unreasonably...)

by Nicholas B - 6 years ago

no way can he enter without consent or notice. however, because he did leave a message saying he was going to be coming in (understanding the fact that it was a different day) might be a harder thing to argue. he did give the notice after all.

i agree with you 100%. your best bet is to talk to your landlord. let them know how displeased you are with the matter and although you were contacted in advance, you we misinformed as the the date the work would be done. wether the lease agreement's statement covers their a** or not, you have the right to request that 1. a more accurate date be given next time and 2. you should be updated as to any changes in the date/time. you might also add to your point your suspicion that this is not the first time your apartment has been entered without consent. threaten legal action against the landlord should this happen again and if it really makes you uncomfortable, as upsetting as it may be, start looking for a new place. im pretty sure you could get out of your lease by sighting un-notified, unlawful entry as a reason.

by theroomstoocold - 6 years ago

It a 24 hour notice to enter (or immediately if its an emergency), I would sit down with her or write a letter and let her know your feelings and not to let it happen again.

by Sue B - 6 years ago

What do you hope to accomplish? The repair is done.

The landlord was sloppy about notifying you in advance, but he did bring a contractor to finish the repair. A lot of contractors just show up to do work when you didn't expect them. Contractors are sloppy like that, timewise. Your landlord was probably forced to decide--do I let this guy get away and not do the repair for maybe another month, or do I keep him here to do all the jobs today?

Things were moved but nothing was missing, so you had no damages.

I understand you are upset and feel violated. Do you hope to give grief to the landlord? Does that help you feel better? Do you want to have a reputation for being an unreasonable hothead? Why not have a POLITE discussion with the landlord so that he understands how badly you feel that someone came into your apartment to fix a problem without 24-hour notice?

by argybargy - 6 years ago

Just write them a letter stating that in future you would appreciate the 24 hour notice as required by law. No need to get all charged up. It could be the subcontractor's mistake since there was a voicemail for the next day.

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by Wicker Park Wears - 6 years ago

The landlord should have given you advanced notice. I am not sure what you can really do about it though. You don't really have any damages, so nothing really to sue over. I guess if you were really displeased you may be able to move out on the basis that he violated the terms of the lease.

by Brian A - 6 years ago

If you have asked for a repair then you have invited them in, however I would still expect a 24 hour notice. Ask the others in your building if they have similar problems.

by estielmo - 6 years ago

Your landlord can only enter the home in an Emergency Situation otherwise they need to give you 24 hours notice they will be entering to do repairs.

by California Landlord - 6 years ago

Most states require notice. Check the landlord tenant act in your state.

by DebtFreeGuy - 6 years ago

It depends on what state you live in, but the laws in most states say that a landlord must give you 24 hours notice to enter your apartment, they must also give you the date and approximate time that they will enter your apartment, they can only enter during normal business hours and they have to have a valid reason to enter (like making that repair). They also have to leave some evidence that they were there if you were not home, like a note or business card.

I would start by calling the property management company's corporate or local office (not your apartment manager, who is probably part of the problem). If it is just a local owner who hired the apartment manager, then insist on talking to the owner. Explain what happened and tell them that you insist on them following the law, that they have to tell you what day and time they will come and they have to come on that day, not another day. Also tell them that your door was left unlocked in the past and you will hold them responsible if this happens again and your apartment is broken into.

Then if they enter your apartment again without following the proper steps, send them a letter via certified mail letting the management company know that they have ignored your request to follow the law regarding entering your apartment and that you have reported them to the local authorities (depending on where you live it could be a city agency or your attorney general). Then report them. They are breaking the law and they need to take you seriously.

Look up your local laws and find out which agency takes care of landlord problems. You can google "landlord/tenant laws + your state" and you should find an official government website (ignore websites that end in .com they are usually wrong). If that doesn't help, look up your local legal aid office they can direct you.

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by Brandi C - 6 years ago