After serving my tenants a 4 months notice that I will not be renewing their lease, things have gotten difficult. They have stopped paying rent. I served a 14 day notice to quit. Even if they pay, they will recieve a 30 day niotice to quit at the end of the month for numerous violations of the lease. They are responsible to maintain the yard, and we supply all the equipment, yet it's august and the lawn has not been mowed once by them. We have to pick up their dogs poop before mowing the lawn. I sent a registered letter stating that I was excercising my right according to the lease to revoke their right to have a dog, and that the dog must be gone by August 1st. The dogs not gone. Are we allowed to enter the property to maintain it, without giving them 24 hours notice? Tenants from hell!
Based on the limited facts you have provided, you must give the tenants reasonable notice prior to entering the premises short of an emergency situation. According to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 186, Section 15B, a landlord may only enter the rented premises according to a lease subject to certain limitations, or in accordance with a court order, if the premises appear to have been abandoned or to inspect within the last 30 days of the tenancy after either party has given notice of intention to terminate the tenancy for the purpose of determining damage that would be cause for deduction from any security deposit being held by the landlord. With respect to rights of entry under lease, as mentioned before, a lease can only provide a right of entry to the landlord to inspect the premises, to make repairs thereto or to show same to a prospective tenant, purchaser, mortgagee or its agents.
The State Sanitary Code also provides reasonable access to landlords, or their agents or employees, upon reasonable notice, if possible by appointment, for the purpose of making such repairs or alterations as are necessary to effect compliance with the State Sanitary Code.
Even absent the provision of language in your lease giving permission for entry, if this is the case, I would say you do have a right to maintain the property free from any unsanitary conditions, including the accumulation of dog feces, under the State Sanitary Code and that you can do so only after giving reasonable notice prior to the entry. Since you already acknowledge a shaky relationship with the tenants, there’s no doubt that advanced notice is the best route to avoid any additional conflicts, but be sure to put it all in writing.
This "answer" is for information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship.
Unless your contract allows you to enter the property without proper notice, then you can't do so absent an emergency situation. You a messy and aggravating situation, but not an emergency. Otherwise, you seem to be taking proper legal steps.
Gary S. Sinclair is an attorney licensed to practice in Massachusetts. All answers are based on Massachusetts law or a simple reading of the law in your jurisdiction. All answers are for educational purposes and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to your question. The information provided should NOT be relied upon for making legal decisions. You will be best served by hiring an attorney in your area who specializes in the field of law pertinent to your question.
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