When Can A Landlord Enter A Residence

Roland Xavier Tiemann

Written by

DUI / DWI Attorney - Folsom, CA

Contributor Level 14

Posted over 4 years ago. Applies to California, 2 helpful votes



Reasons A Landlord Can Enter A Rental Unit

California law states that a landlord can enter a rental unit only for the following reasons: (1) in an emergency, (2) tenant has moved out/abandoned the unit, (3) to make necessary or agreed-upon repairs, decorations, alterations, or other improvements, (4) 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 (5) if a court order permits the landlord to enter, (6) 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.


Is Notice Required Prior To Entry

The landlord or the landlord's agent 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 under any of the following circumstances: o to respond to an emergency. o the tenant has moved out or has abandoned the rental unit. o the tenant is present and consents to the entry at the time of entry. o 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. The agreement must include the date and approximate time of entry, which must be within one week of the oral agreement.


What Type of Notice is Required

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: o personally deliver the notice to the tenant; or o leave the notice at the rental unit with a person of suitable age and discretion (for example, a roommate or a teenage member of the tenant's household); or o 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 o Mail the notice to the tenant.120 The law considers 24 hours' advance written notice to be reasonable in most situations. if the notice is mailed to the tenant, mailing at least six days before the intended entry is presumed to be reasonable, in most situations. The tenant can consent to shorter notice and to entry at times other than during normal business hours.


Does the Landlord Need to Notice you of Entry

When the landlord or agent enters the rental, he or she must leave written evidence of entry, such as a business card.


What of the Landlord Violates the Rules

The landlord cannot abuse the right of access allowed by these rules, or use this right of access to harass (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 your landlord violates these access rules, talk to the landlord about your concerns. If that is not successful in stopping the landlord's misconduct, send the landlord a formal letter asking the landlord to strictly observe the access rules stated above.


Can You Sue Your Landlord for Violating the Rules

If the landlord continues to violate these rules, you can talk to an attorney or a legal aid organization, or file suit in small claims court to recover damages that you have suffered due to the landlord's misconduct. If the 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.

Additional Resources

CA Dept of Consumer Affairs

Rate this guide

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.


Ask now

26,689 answers this week

2,980 attorneys answering