If your landlord has been staying at your house and you are uncomfortable about it, you are justified in asking whether they can do something like that.
In this article, I am going to cover whether a landlord is entitled to stay at your house, the circumstances under which this may be allowed (there aren’t many) and a general overview of when they can even enter your home (let alone stay there).
If you want the short answer to the question, it’s as follows:
As a general matter, a landlord may not stay at your house unless there is a provision in your lease that allows this or you are formally sharing the home with your landlord. Tenants are entitled to a right of quiet enjoyment of their rented premises and a landlord residing there without your consent is a violation of that right.
Ok, we’ve got a lot to cover so let’s get into it.
The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified legal professional before making any decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.
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When Can My Landlord Stay At My House?
As mentioned above, the situations where a landlord can stay at your house are limited.
That’s due to the right of quiet enjoyment. The covenant of quiet enjoyment is an implied term in every lease (that means it exists even if it is not expressly stated in the lease), which states that the tenant shall have quiet and peaceful possession of the leased premises against the landlord.
The prohibits the landlord from doing anything which disturbs the tenant’s enjoyment of their property.
So when can a landlord actually stay at your house without violating the right to quiet enjoyment?
They may have a right to stay at your house if the lease agreement permits it (in other words, you have agreed to it in writing).
Such a provision is highly unusual and should have been highlighted to you. I am not talking about a provision that allows a landlord to enter the premises to make repairs or to market the property for sale. Those provisions are common (and we’ll cover them later).
I am talking about language in the lease that actually allows the landlord to live with you for some period of time. Again, really unlikely that this type of provision exists, but it’s worth checking your lease if you have doubts.
Secondly, if you are renting out a room, basement, attic, or other space in a house that your landlord is occupying, then the landlord is certainly allowed to live in the parts of the house that are not rented out to you.
But that does not mean that your landlord can suddenly move into your room or space without your consent.
When Can My Landlord Enter My House?
Landlords do have the right to enter your house from time to time, but only under certain conditions. Your lease agreement should list out when they may do so.
As a general matter, landlords are allowed to enter your home in cases of emergency, to make a requested repair, to conduct inspections, to market the property for sale or rent, or in cases where they suspect abandonment of the property. We’ll cover each of these in more detail below.
Note: Some states have laws regarding when a landlord can enter the property, even if you didn’t sign a lease agreement or your lease is silent on the matter.
In emergencies like fires, water leaks, and extreme weather, the landlord is, in most cases, allowed to enter the house without permission to address the emergency or send someone to prevent further damage.
Not all states have the same law regarding abandonment. For example, some states give the right to landlords to enter the property when the tenant is absent for an extended period to inspect and check for any damages.
Other states permit landlords to enter the house only in cases of emergency.
In some cases, your lease agreement may also address the issue of suspected abandonment and when a landlord who suspects you abandoned the property may enter the home without your consent.
Showing the Property to Potential Buyers or Renters
As a general matter, landlords have the right to show their properties to future tenants and buyers. These conditions for having these showings (notice requirements, etc.) are usually spelled out in the lease.
State law may also come into the picture here.
As you can imagine, different states have different standards around notice and other details relating to showings.
For example, in California, showings must be during normal business hours and landlords must provide sufficient notice (24 hours is typically deemed sufficient). In cases, where the property is being put up for sale, oral notice may be permitted if the landlord has notified the tenant within 120 days of such notice that the property on the market.
The Landlord Provided Written Notice
The landlord may request to enter the property for maintenance, repair, or regular checkups. These rights are usually spelled out in the lease.
It is not uncommon at all for a landlord to want to conduct periodic inspections of the property, although they should provide reasonable notice to you before doing so. The same goes for repairs and services.
Check your lease to see specific notice and frequency requirements in these types of situations.
What Can I Do If My Landlord Stays At My House?
If your landlord is staying at your house in violation of the lease and applicable law (of course, consult a lawyer to check this), the first thing you should do is discuss the issue with them.
Tell them you feel uncomfortable with this arrangement and try to work out a solution with them.
If they refuse to leave and you feel like you are on firm footing with respect to your legal rights, then you can begin legal proceedings. At this point, you definitely want to hire a lawyer to help you navigate this process.
So there you have it – a clear answer to whether your landlord can stay at your house without your permission. The bottom line is that you have a right to live in your rental peacefully and without undue harassment from your landlord – that includes them living in your space without your consent.
Hope this has been helpful and happy renting!