Tenants have a right to privacy and quiet enjoyment. In California, landlords aren’t permitted to show up at a home and demand to be let in. You’ll need a reason to be there, and you’ll need to have provided a reasonable amount of notice.
There has been some confusion over what constitutes “reasonable.” California law says that 24 hours is reasonable. Unless there’s an emergency, always provide at least 24 hours of notice before you enter a property that’s occupied by a tenant. Put that notice in writing so you can document that notice was provided.
Entering for Emergencies
There may be an emergency at your property that requires you to get inside without providing the proper notice. This isn’t an ideal situation for a number of reasons, but the courts in California will recognize that such things happen. If there’s a true emergency that could impact the health or safety of the resident, you can get inside as soon as it is safe. If there’s an emergency that threatens the condition and stability of your property, you can go inside for emergency purposes.
Giving notice is impossible when there’s a flood or a fire that needs to be immediately addressed. While the right of privacy is important, an emergency situation does not require that you share your intent with your tenants before going inside to mitigate damage to people or property.
Scheduled Entry into Rental Homes
When repairs are necessary or the property is being shown to prospective tenants, you will need to provide 24 hours notice.
You are responsible for keeping your rental property safe and habitable, so you may need to reasonably access the inside of the home. General inspections are not allowed. But, you can go inside to inspect maintenance issues or make repairs. If you’re upgrading your electric system or looking for leaks, you have a right to enter. However, you are not permitted to enter the property just to make a general inspection.
Send a Notice of Intent to Enter to the resident with the date and time that you’ll be there. Post the notice at the property, deliver it to your tenant in person, or send an email letting them know when you’ll be there and why.
California law requires landlords to give the tenant “reasonable notice,” which the law has held to mean at least 24 hours.
Tenant Relationships and Landlord Entry
While 24 hours is the minimum you must provide, it’s not a bad idea to provide a little extra time. This will depend on your tenants and your relationship with those renters. If you have a good relationship in place, you probably know that your tenants are not going to push back against your reasons for entering the home or the amount of time you give them before you show up. Difficult tenants, however, might require a bit of extra time and a more detailed explanation.
Establish and nurture good tenant relationships. It will make situations like this much easier to navigate.
The notice period should be included in your lease agreement. If you’d like help with leasing, inspections, or anything pertaining to property management, please contact us at HCM Property Management.