When Can a Landlord Enter a Rental Property?

Last Updated: June 4, 2024 by Roberto Valenzuela

Even with proper notice and with entry rights reserved in the lease, many states regulate when a landlord can enter a rental property. Landlord entry requires valid purpose, valid manner, and valid timing.

The tenant’s consent removes all legal issues with a landlord entry. A landlord can always enter when invited, even for something unrelated to the lease. The rest of this article assumes the tenant may want to refuse consent.

Valid Purpose Required to Enter Rental Property

No landlord entry is legal without a valid purpose. Landlords can generally enter for purposes reserved in the lease, and/or required by the law.

Purposes in the Law

Landlords can enter for a purpose that’s allowed by law. The law usually allows entry for property work, inspections, and emergencies.

Property showings are sometimes allowed. If they are, this is usually in an entry statute. Landlords can also enter a property when it appears abandoned by the tenant (usually after 1-2 weeks of unexplained absence).

Property Work

Landlords almost always have a duty to provide safe, habitable rental property. To carry out this duty, landlords can enter rental property for necessary property work. This can include:

  • Repairs
  • Replacements
  • Regular maintenance
  • Changes or improvements to the property
  • Provided services, like backyard upkeep or spraying for pests

In states that have an entry statute, this often includes the right to enter for lower-level work, like decorations. This kind of work isn’t a valid purpose unless it’s allowed by the law or the lease.


Most places have a housing code defining safe rental property. The owner could get fined, or even have the property condemned, if there’s a code compliance issue. This means the landlord usually can enter and inspect for code compliance.

It’s a more open question whether the landlord can enter and inspect for lease violations. The landlord can inspect for lease violations where it’s allowed by statute. In places which allow individual access policies, the landlord can also reserve a right to inspect.

Inspections for lease violations are an easy way for a landlord to harass a tenant. Because of this, courts have a strict approach to reviewing lease-related inspections.

Property Showings

Landlords usually can’t show a property unless allowed by state law (like Rhode Island’s) or the lease. State statutes generally allow showings to potential buyers, renters, and contractors.

When there’s no right to show reserved by the law or the lease, tenants can almost always refuse a showing.


An emergency situation that threatens people or rental property always gives the landlord a right to enter. The landlord must limit his activity to resolving the emergency during such an entry.

Property Abandonment

Most states give the landlord a right to enter property which appears abandoned. A landlord can usually enter after an unexplained tenant absence of 1-2 weeks.

Purposes in the Lease

Many states, such as Colorado, let the landlord and tenant set an entry policy in the rental agreement. Courts accept most entry policies at face value unless something is obviously illegal.

An entry policy might limit the tenant’s use of the property on a temporary basis. For example, a landlord could reserve the right to use a backyard area for occasional parties.

This also applies for more rarefied purposes. A landlord could reserve a right to dowse on the rental property, or swim in the pool on Saturday mornings. If the tenant freely agrees to the policy, a court will usually uphold it as written.

Many places do not allow lease-specific purposes for entry. For example, Arizona strictly limits landlord entry to only the purposes allowed by statute. Check local laws.

Valid Manner to Enter Rental Property

Valid purpose isn’t enough. A landlord must also enter with a valid manner. Manner refers to the way the landlord conducts the entry process.


Landlord entry is often illegal without “actual notice” in advance. Actual notice is any form of notice the tenant personally receives. It could be anything from a phone conversation to a letter sent through certified mail.

Notice must mention both the purpose and approximate timing of the entry. A tenant can often refuse consent to enter if the notice doesn’t mention one of these.

The following table lays out rules for notice before entry, by state.

State Default Required Notice
Allowed Notice Types Possible To Waive Notice Requirements?*
Alabama 2 days Any actual notice (written posting on main door of residence is preferred) Yes, for separately posted scheduled services
Alaska 24 hours Any actual notice No
Arizona 2 days Any actual notice Yes, when addressing a tenant repair request
Arkansas “Reasonable” notice Any actual notice Yes
California 24 hours (6 days for mailed notice) Written notice only (with some special exceptions) No
Colorado “Reasonable” notice (48 hours in specific cases) Usually written, depends on entry purpose Yes
Connecticut “Reasonable” notice Any actual notice No
Delaware 48 hours Written notice only (but actual notice may count in court situations) Yes, in a separate written agreement before the start of the tenancy
Florida 24 hours for repairs, “reasonable” notice otherwise Any actual notice No
Georgia “Reasonable” notice Any actual notice Yes
Hawaii 2 days Any actual notice No
Idaho “Reasonable” notice Any actual notice Yes
Illinois “Reasonable” notice Any actual notice Yes
Indiana 24 hours Any actual notice No
Iowa 24 hours Any actual notice No
Kansas “Reasonable” notice Any actual notice No

(KY-URLTA communities only)

2 days Any actual notice (written only, if billing for non-compliance) No
Louisiana “Reasonable” notice Any actual notice Yes
Maine 24 hours Any actual notice No, but notice is waived for emergencies such as animal welfare
Maryland “Reasonable” notice Any actual notice Yes
Massachusetts 48 hours for most purposes Any actual notice No
Michigan “Reasonable” notice Any actual notice Yes
Minnesota 24 hours Any actual notice Yes, if it’s not a condition for entering or maintaining the lease
Mississippi “Reasonable” notice Any actual notice Yes
Missouri “Reasonable” notice Any actual notice Yes
Montana 24 hours Any actual notice No
Nebraska 24 hours Any actual notice No
Nevada 24 hours Any actual notice Yes, in an explicit waiver covering a single entry only
New Hampshire “Reasonable” notice generally (48 hours in some specific cases) Actual notice in general, written only for some specific cases No
New Jersey 1 day Any actual notice Yes
New Mexico 24 hours Any actual notice No
New York “Reasonable” notice Any actual notice Yes, by agreement in the lease or other contract
North Carolina “Reasonable” notice Any actual notice Yes
North Dakota “Reasonable” notice Any actual notice (written posting in/on residence is preferred) Yes
Ohio “Reasonable” notice Any actual notice No
Oklahoma 1 day Any actual notice No
Oregon 24 hours Any actual notice Yes, with detailed requirements dependent on purpose
Pennsylvania “Reasonable” notice Any actual notice Yes
Rhode Island 2 days Any actual notice No
South Carolina 24 hours Any actual notice No full waiver for notice, but some partial waivers available
South Dakota 24 hours (by custom, not strict legal requirement) Any actual notice Yes, but disfavored by law enforcement

(TN-URLTA counties only)

“Reasonable” notice generally, 24 hours for property showings Any actual notice No
Texas “Reasonable” notice Any actual notice Yes
Utah 24 hours (but tenants can’t sue if landlord fails to provide adequate notice) Any actual notice Yes
Vermont 48 hours Any actual notice Yes
Virginia 72 hours Any actual notice Yes, when addressing a tenant repair request
Washington 2 days (1 day for property showings) Written notice only No
Washington DC 48 hours Written notice only (incl. text and email, provided that the tenant replies to the notice) Yes, but only in writing
West Virginia “Reasonable” notice Any actual notice Yes
Wisconsin 12 hours Written notice only, personally delivered to the tenant if possible Yes, but only if written in a special lease addendum
Wyoming “Reasonable” notice Any Yes


Tenants don’t have to let anybody in without identification. Landlords and employees likewise aren’t allowed to sneak onto rental property.

Anyone entering must announce their presence and identify their purpose if asked. If they don’t, tenants can treat this as an illegal trespass and call the police, even on a landlord.


Landlords and employees must enter with a professional demeanor. They can’t enter in an abusive or alarming way even if timing, purpose, and notice are all otherwise valid. Tenants can refuse entry if the entrant has a threatening demeanor.

Valid Timing to Enter Rental Property

The last element that determines when a landlord can enter a rental property is valid timing.

Sometimes the law or the lease specify timing. For example, entry in California must occur during normal business hours (except in emergencies), defined as 8:00AM-5:00PM.

When the law and the lease are silent on timing, the rule is that it must be “reasonable.” In practice, a reasonable entry usually must be within business hours. An entry with unusual timing must relate to exceptional circumstances like an emergency.