If you are worried that your landlord is a snoop or worse, you may be wondering whether your landlord can look inside your closet while they are on premises.
In this article, I am going to answer this question, as well discuss the circumstances where this may happen, and things you can do when your landlord has gone too far and invaded your privacy.
If you are looking for the short answer, it is as follows:
A landlord may enter your rental property with proper notice to conduct routine inspections or make necessary repairs or updates. This may include looking inside your closet and other areas you consider private. These inspections often check for health and safety issues, including fire hazards or pests as well as any damage to the property.
Ok, we’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get into it.
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Why Landlords Might Take a Look Inside Your Closet
Your landlord has invested their time and money in the rental properties they own. It should make sense that they do whatever they can to keep their units in good condition.
To be able to do this, they carry out regular rental inspections. By doing so, they’ll be able to assess whether their rental property needs any maintenance.
It will also allow them to check for necessary repairs from excessive damages.
Of course, there are limits to how often they can do this and they typically need to provide sufficient notice under the lease (as well as state and local laws).
Ok, so we know that inspections are not uncommon. Let’s talk about some of the things they may be looking for during an inspection.
Health and Fire Hazards
Health and fire hazards are two of the main concerns landlords constantly watch out for. That’s why they make sure to nip them in the bud by finding their potential sources.
You might find your landlord looking into your closet because they’re checking for mold. Closets are often humid, dark, and poorly ventilated which makes them a breeding ground for mold spores.
Mold can actually cause several health problems like difficulty in breathing, skin irritation, and headaches. Your landlord may just be looking out for you.
Related Reading: If you want to learn more about rights you may have when you have a mold situation in your home, check out my articles here:
If mold is not a concern, they might peek into your closet because they’re making sure that you’re not storing anything that could result in other significant health or safety risks, such stacks of papers or cardboard containers near any flammable substances, or hazardous substances.
Pest control might be on top of your landlord’s list of priorities. That’s because pest infestations are hard to get rid of once they’ve taken hold of your apartment.
The most common insect pests that may invade our homes are cockroaches. These bugs are actually attracted to cardboard.
That may be one of the reasons your landlord would want to inspect your closet– to check for piles of cardboard boxes (or anything else) that may invite roaches into your place.
Evidence of an existing pest infestation may also be found in closets, so that is another reason why they may want to inspect that area.
Roof leaks are pretty common, especially in places where heavy rain is frequent. These leaks may also happen because of roofing components that have been damaged over time.
Your landlord may need to look inside or around your closet because it’s usually hard to spot roof leaks within this area. And roof leaks are not the only potential cause of water damage. In some units, there is piping that runs over closet areas, and if there is a leak, it could cause damage to the ceiling and walls of a closet.
If they don’t catch it early on, you might be able to notice the problem only when the floor and the wall have already rotted through.
If Your Landlord Crosses the Line
Now there is a big difference between a landlord conducting an inspection of the premises and going through your personal effects.
If you do notice that they have riffled through your belongings without your permission, there are steps you can take to prevent it from happening again.
The first thing you can do is you may simply speak amicably with your landlord about the issue and let them know that you noticed and don’t want it to happen again. I can’t imagine that a landlord would want continue this behavior once confronted with it.
But if the problem keeps happening, you may want to consider filing a small claims lawsuit against your landlord. Source.
You could do this yourself, but you would be entering into this process without any advice or guidance.
If you prefer to have a lawyer assist you, I would try JustAnswer. They boast access to thousands of highly-rated, verified real estate lawyers whom you can connect with via their unlimited chat service.
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Your landlord looking into your closet might sound sketchy at first. But most of the time, they’ve got a few good reasons why they’re doing it.
But if they are snooping beyond what is necessary to protect their property and address potential health and safety concerns, they have likely crossed the line.