Every tenant has the right to privacy; however, a landlord has also the right to maintain their property. Sometimes, a landlord must enter a tenant's apartment to deal with emergencies; such as making repairs or showing the apartment to another potential tenant. Even though a tenant cannot unreasonably deny landlord access to their apartment, the landlord must comply with the state and local regulations regarding access to tenants' apartments. Nearly half of the states have rules governing landlord entry into tenants' apartments. The specific rules change from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
Landlords cannot just enter a tenant's apartment whenever they please. States usually only allow landlords to come into tenants' apartments under justified circumstances; for example:
- During an emergency; a fire or a severe water leak
- To make repairs or assess the need for repairs
- To inspect the premises for damage
- To show the premises to insurance or mortgage companies
- To investigate potential rent violations
- To show the apartment to prospective tenants
- In the event that the tenant willingly invites them in
Leases will sometimes contain additional justifications for entry; so make sure you read carefully the terms of your lease to be aware of them. However, in Florida, just because a tenant agrees to a certain type of entry, under certain circumstances, does not mean that the Landlord can rely upon it.
Tenants cannot unreasonably deny a landlord entry to their apartment. They can request to have an entry moved to a different date; however, they cannot prevent the landlord from entering the apartment as long as the landlord complies with the law.
Recourse to Landlord Trespass
If you consider that your landlord has entered your apartment in violation of any of the rules stated above, the first thing you have to do is investigate as to why the Landlord entered; and to request that the next time, that the Landlord give you advanced notice. Such investigation and request should be in writing.
However, if the trespassing continues, send your landlord a formal letter via certified mail requesting an end to the entries. If that doesn't work, you might have to consider taking your landlord to court for harassment or trespassing.
You should keep a record of all the times the landlord entered the apartment. Gather evidence, such as photographs or video recordings, if possible; it will be useful in court.