The Landlord’s Right of Entry and Tenant’s Privacy

The Landlord’s Right of Entry

State law allows a landlord to legally enter rented premises while a tenant is still in residence in these situations (CC § § 1954.604, 1954.211, 1954.608):

  • pursuant to court order
  • to deal with an emergency
  • when the tenant gives permission
  • to make needed or agreed-upon repairs (or assess the need for them)
  • to provide agreed-upon or necessary services (includes inspection and treatment for bed bugs, water service, and water usage)
  • to show the property to prospective new tenants, mortgagees, workers, contractors, or actual or potential purchasers
  • to conduct an initial move-out inspection, if requested by the tenant (who has a right to be present at the inspection), and
  • when the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises.

A landlord’s right to entry cannot be expanded, or the tenant’s privacy rights waived or modified, by any provision in a lease or rental agreement. (CC § 1953( a)( 1).)

Don’t change locks

It is unwise to change a lock installed by a tenant without permission, even if you immediately give the tenant a key. This invites a lawsuit and false claims that you tried to lock the tenant out or stole the tenant’s possessions.