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Unlawful entry by landlord to show room to perspective tenants. Mo to Mo lease agreement has NO provision for showings.

San Diego, CA |

What is my recourse if my landlord enters my room outside of normal business hours to show my room to perspective tenants? Doesn't California law only allow the landlord to show it during normal business hrs and thereby not on the weekends. And what if the landlord does it anyway with a 24 notice; but on a weekend or after 5 pm? Please advise.

Attorney Answers 2


I believe the law is that a written, 72 hour notice is required for all LL entry other than for emergencies. I'm not currently aware of any statute which specifies 'normal business hours' for entry but entering at odd hours and on odd days could amount to harassment and/or a breach of covenants.

Thomas A. Schaeffer, Esq. Law Office of Juarez and Schaeffer PO Box 16216, San Diego, CA 92105 (619) 804-4327 This posting is provided for "informational purposes" only and should not be relied upon as "legal advice." Nothing transmitted from this posting constitutes the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Applicability of the legal principals discussed here may differ substantially in individual situations or in different States.

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Regardless of whether your month to month lease has a specific provision covering this, California law states that a landlord can enter a rental unit only for the following reasons:

-- In an emergency.
-- When the tenant has moved out or has abandoned the rental unit.
-- To make necessary or agreed-upon repairs, decorations, alterations, or other improvements.
-- To show the rental unit to prospective tenants, purchasers, or lenders, to provide entry to contractors or workers who are to perform work on the unit, or to conduct an initial inspection before the end of the tenancy.
-- If a court order permits the landlord to enter.
If the tenant has a waterbed, to inspect the installation of the waterbed when the installation has been completed, and periodically after that to assure that the installation meets the law's requirements.

(See Civil Code Section 1954).

The landlord must give the tenant reasonable advance notice in writing before entering the unit, and can enter only during normal business hours (generally, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays). The notice must state the date, approximate time and purpose of entry.

However, advance written notice is not required to respond to an emergency, or if the tenant is present and consents to the entry at the time of entry. Advance written notice is also not required if the tenant and landlord have agreed that the landlord will make repairs or supply services, and have agreed orally that the landlord may enter to make the repairs or supply the services. (But the agreement must include the date and approximate time of entry, which must be within one week of the oral agreement.)

The landlord or agent may use any one of the following methods to give the tenant written notice of intent to enter the unit. The landlord or agent may personally deliver the notice to the tenant; or leave the notice at the rental unit with a person of suitable age and discretion; or leave the notice on, near or under the unit's usual entry door in such a way that it is likely to be found; or mail the notice to the tenant. The law considers 24 hours' advance written notice to be reasonable in most situations.

Pursuant to California Civil Code Section 1954(c), a landlord cannot abuse the right of access allowed by these rules, or use this right of access to harass or repeatedly disturb the tenant. Also, the law prohibits a landlord from significantly and intentionally violating these access rules to attempt to influence the tenant to move from the rental unit. If a landlord's violation of these rules was significant and intentional, and the landlord's purpose was to influence you to move from the rental unit, you can sue the landlord in small claims court for a civil penalty of up to $2,000 for each violation. (Civil Code Section 1940.2(b).)

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

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