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April 30, 2018 |

Can a Landlord Enter a Tenant's Property Uninvited?

When you rent an apartment or house, you expect that you will have privacy within the confines of your own home. Of course, your landlord is the legal owner of the property, so the landlord may expect to be given access to the home. 

It's important for both landlords and tenants to understand what the law says about when a landlord can enter a rental property so both parties will know what is expected of them and there will be no unpleasant surprises.  It's also important for tenants to understand what their rights are because if a landlord violates those rights and interferes with the tenant's quiet enjoyment of the property, there are legal remedies available to the tenant and the tenant could potentially have the right to break a lease.

If a landlord is routinely entering a rental property uninvited and/or without proper legal justification, tenants should contact a Boston tenant dispute lawyer for help as soon as possible. An attorney can provide assistance in taking action to protect tenant privacy and stop the wrongful behavior on the part of the landlord.

What are the Rules for Landlords Entering a Tenant's Property?

Under Massachusetts law, tenants have a right to privacy and landlords are permitted to enter a tenant's property only for a specific purpose. For example, landlords are allowed to enter a rental property that is occupied by a tenant only for purposes of:

  • Complying with a court order
  • Conducting an inspection of the apartment or inspecting the apartment for damage near the end of a tenancy
  • Making repairs to the apartment
  • Showing a potential new tenant or potential buyer the apartment
  • In circumstances where it appears that the apartment has been abandoned

Even when a landlord is legally justified in entering a tenant's apartment, the landlord typically cannot just go in unannounced and without providing proper notice to the tenant. In general, outside of an emergency situation or other exigent circumstances, landlords must provide notice to the tenant.

Typically, landlords are required to provide 24-hours notice to the tenant before entering into the apartment. However, if your lease agreement specifies a longer notice period or otherwise establishes different rules for when a landlord is permitted to enter an apartment, then your lease agreement should prevail.

While landlords cannot just enter properties without notifying the tenant or being invited, tenants are typically not allowed to simply change the locks to keep a landlord out. Most lease agreements will limit the authority of the tenant to make modifications to the locks and many agreements expressly specify that a landlord must have a working key.

If there is a conflict between a landlord and a tenant regarding the rights of the landlord to enter the rental property, a Boston tenant dispute lawyer can provide representation and advice to resolve the problem. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible to find out the legal remedies available to you in these circumstances.

Posted in Landlord-Tenant Information

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