Generally speaking, yes, but only with proper advanced notice. 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.
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 Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.
I agree with Mr. Chen. The landlord may have restricted himself with the lease and perhaps you should negotiate a concession for early showings. I offered my tenants a two day credit on their rent for each showing, just an idea.
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