All states let landlords enter a rental property without notice in an emergency. Some states have laws which allow no-notice entry for other reasons.
When Can Landlords Enter Without Notice?
Tenants usually don’t have to let a landlord enter without advance notice. Some exceptions apply.
No State Entry Law
Many states have no law with specific requirements for a landlord entry. When there’s no entry law, a landlord can enter without advance notice when it’s “reasonable.”
What’s reasonable depends on all relevant facts of the situation. Reasonable no-notice entry requires showing why notice couldn’t or shouldn’t be given. Without this justification, a tenant can refuse a no-notice entry as being unreasonable.
Every state lets a landlord enter without notice to address an emergency. This applies regardless of what’s in the lease, and even if there’s no written lease.
Tenant consent always lets the landlord enter without notice. A landlord has no legal notice requirements when invited to enter by the tenant.
Constructive notice is when the law presumes notice due to specifics about a situation. This happens most often when a tenant requests or requires certain services.
For example, New Mexico landlords can enter without advance notice to do repairs the tenant requested within the last seven days. It’s also common, as in Rhode Island, for states to allow no-notice entry when the tenant is away for an extended period.
A court order overrides all legal requirements for notice and purpose. It’s always lawful for a landlord to follow the exact terms of a court order.
When Must Landlords Give Advance Notice?
In general, landlords must give advance notice whenever there isn’t a clear exception like the ones described above.
In particular, purposes adverse to the tenant require advance notice in most cases. State law often reflects this. For example, Kentucky requires written advance notice for entries to repair tenant noncompliance.
Limitations on Entry Without Notice
Entry without notice has specific limits. These are two things it does not mean:
- Entry Without Notice Is Not Entry Without Consent. Notice and permission requirements are separate. Tenants can refuse entry in a situation where notice isn’t required, unless it’s an emergency.
- Entry Without Notice Is Not Unannounced Entry. No-notice entry doesn’t mean the landlord can hide an entry from a tenant or sneak onto a rental property. Entry without notice only skips the requirement to notify the tenant in advance. The tenant can usually treat an unannounced entry as a criminal trespass, even if it’s the landlord.