People are always concerned with their rights to privacy, and certainly not only within the property management business. For those who are renting their home or office space, however, there is sometimes a question of when it is appropriate for a landlord to enter the unit. What exactly is their right of entry within tenant privacy policies, and what can tenants or renters do about it if this bothers them?
Rights and Responsibility in Tenant Privacy
Are landlords allowed to enter into a rented space on the property without scheduling a meeting beforehand? If not, what is the protocol for how far in advance the date and time needs to be set? What about emergencies? These are some of the many questions about tenants’ rights that may come up and to which you should know the answers.
It’s actually implicit that the person’s privacy will not be breached. Landlords aren’t likely to enter the unit unannounced. However, there may arise some situations in which this becomes a necessity. If there is something time-sensitive to be taken care of within the unit but the tenant isn’t able to be there in person, for example. In this case, the landlord and whatever maintenance workers are required would likely need to go in without the supervision of the tenant due to the urgency.
This may bother some people, but it’s important to remember that “the tenant might have exclusive possession of the unit during their rental period—but the landlord still owns the property.” It can be difficult to distinguish where one’s rights begin and the other’s ends, but it’s crucial to try in order to resolve (or prevent) landlord/tenant disputes. The last thing either party should want is for an uncomfortable work or home environment.
Where does legality come into play here? Laws related to tenant privacy often vary from state to state, but there seem to be some consistencies in the conditions that would allow for “unauthorized” landlord entry. Some include general inspections, emergency action, for repairs, and/or to show the unit to prospective tenants. The period ahead of time when they would have to get in touch with tenants about accessing the unit also varies (usually about a day to 48 hours in advance), but, again, the instances described above don’t call for such an alert.
If you as a tenant have concerns, then there are some things that you can do. First (and perhaps obviously), you should speak with the landlord about your worries as they pertain to invasions of privacy. You are entitled to some things, and they don’t want you to be so unhappy that you move elsewhere. Schedule a meeting with the landlord and/or property manager and calmly explain your concerns, offering some leeway for them to do their work, but not giving up all of your tenant privacy rights.
If you as a landlord have concerns, then you are also able to take steps to ease the burden you face. Just as above, arrange to speak with the tenant and then be transparent about when you would need to enter into the apartment without notice. If they don’t seem to understand, then stress the damage that could be done if what you need to attend to is ignored.
Another issue is that a lot of people, whether landlord or tenant, don’t know a lot about tenant privacy and what the laws surrounding it say. In some cases, tenants may not know that they can deny certain actions to protect their rights. In others, they may overreact and call for legal action when there is no basis for it. In all cases, people need to read up about their entitlements and responsibilities so that no time and energy are wasted in creating a fight that won’t accomplish anything.
It can be difficult to navigate these legal waters, particularly if tenants and landlords/property managers are already at odds. It can make things easier from the beginning if both parties try to establish and maintain a working relationship, one that is courteous, polite, and thoughtful. Tenants should try and be a little more sensitive to the workload of landlords, particularly when it comes to their (possible) need to enter into the unit. Landlords, then, need to only invade others’ privacy when necessary and not to overstep their bounds.
What you need in your property management is flexibility. If tenants and landlords have learned to be flexible, then you should work with an accommodating property management software to match. This is where Budgetrac Property Management Software comes into play. You never have to worry about this program causing problems for you when it is one of the most robust and powerful options on the market. Budgetrac can handle almost any type of lease arrangement, uncluding leases with multiple spaces and multiple leases per tenant to make both parties happy.