Your Tenant’s Privacy vs. The Landlord’s Right to Enter

We all expect privacy when it comes to our living spaces. People want the quiet enjoyment of their own home, without prying eyes or the landlord constantly knocking at the door. At the same time, landlords and property managers have a valid interest in ensuring the safety and security of both the tenants and the property. That’s where it pays to know when and where tenant privacy ends and where you have the right to enter the property.

At some point or another, most landlords have encountered challenges accessing a rented unit. Occasionally it’s because the tenant has something to hide, but most of the time it’s a lack of communication or understanding.

The Tenant Privacy Act covers the full gamut of privacy issues, from the over collection of personal data on a tenant to the use of surveillance cameras to the disclosure of tenant data to third parties. However, when it comes to the right to enter a property, each province has its own typeof residential tenancy act. Yet there are commonalities to all of them.

Although you will need to check with provincial legislation, typically, a landlord has the right to enter a property in these scenarios.

In an Emergency

If a pipe has burst or leaky taps are causing water to overflow into the unit below, landlords have the right to enter your apartment without notice, even if the tenant is not at home at the time. A tenant cannot deny the landlord access in an emergency situation. Emergencies are one of the few times a landlord can enter without providing 24-hour notice.

To Show the Property

If the tenant’s lease is up, the landlord has the right to show the property, with proper notice. What’s considered proper notice does vary from province to province, but is generally considered to be 24 hours. The tenant cannot prohibit the landlord from attempting to rent the soon-to-be-vacant apartment, condo or house.

To Do Repairs or Maintenance

For minor work like painting or replacing a water heater, the landlord must provide advance notice, usually 24 hours. The landlord must also enter during reasonable hours. These hours vary from province to province, but typically during normal working hours and early evening. Where major repairs are required that will take several days to complete, the landlord should notify the tenant several days in advance, for example, Quebec requires 10 days’ notice.

Routine Inspections

To help maintain the property’s value and be proactive on maintenance issues, most landlords do quarterly, semi-annual or annual inspections. A landlord can enter the property to perform routine inspections as long as advance notice has been given, again usually 24 hours.

To Provide Housekeeping Services

If the housekeeping services are included in the lease, the landlord/housekeeping staff can enter to provide the service. No notice is required, as this is an expected daily or weekly service outlined in the terms of the rental lease or service agreement.

If the Property Has Been Abandoned

In the case of an abandoned property, the landlord does not have to give notice to enter. Let’s say you haven’t heard from your renter in over two months and rent has not been paid for one continuous month, the property might be considered to be abandoned. If tenant belongings have been left behind, the landlord may need to store the items in a safe place for 60 days to allow the tenant a chance to claim them.

Communication is Key

Finding the perfect balance between tenant privacy and a landlord’s need to inspect the property and do repairs can be challenging at times, however, open communication can usually smooth the out any bumps.

Property Vista’s property management solution gives you a communication portal so you can easily and professionally communicate to your tenant, securing permission to enter the premises for property inspections or repairs. Using the maintenance portal, the tenant can submit a request and provide approval to enter. You have everything at your fingertips. Go here to request a demo and see pricing.