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When can landlords enter apartments without permission?

There are many contentious issues landlords and tenants come up against. One that has taken the forefront in New York concerns whether security deposits for apartments are too high. 

Over the course of a lease, a landlord may need to enter the tenant's apartment. In general, landlords have to provide advanced warnings if they require access to the property. For example, if the landlord needs to schedule a non-emergency repair, then he or she should give the tenant about a week's notice. If the landlord needs to show the unit to prospective buyers, then the tenant should know about the viewing 24 hours in advance. However, there are times when permission is not necessary.

Reasonable hours

A landlord can only enter the tenant's home at a time that is reasonable for both parties. Generally, entering an apartment between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. is typically acceptable. If the landlord asks to enter the apartment at midnight, then the tenants would be well within their rights to refuse access. 

Emergency repairs

Ordinarily, the landlord has to let the tenant know when he or she will need access to the unit at least a day in advance, if not more. In an emergency situation, such as an electrical issue or a burst pipe, then there is no time to waste. The landlord will need to get inside the unit to inspect the damage and contact the professionals needed to repair the damage. 


A landlord choosing to enter an apartment when the tenant is not home constitutes trespassing. The landlord can face criminal penalties for such actions unless the tenant has explicitly invited the landlord to show up at the apartment when he or she is not home. It is beneficial for the landlord to get this invitation in writing in case any disputes come up down the road. Communication is vital for any relationship, and as long as the landlord and tenant remain on the same page regarding when the landlord can show up, they can avoid any altercations. 

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