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What is the legal way for landlords to enter a rental unit?

It is your property. You own it, so you can go inside of a unit whenever you need to, right? Well, sure, it is your property, but your tenants have rights, and one of those is the right to privacy. As a responsible New York landlord, you need to enter your properties occasionally for repairs or maintenance. How can you accomplish this without starting a costly and time-consuming landlord-tenant dispute?

Even though it feels like the law is always on your tenants' side, you have rights, too. You just need to know how to exercise your legal rights without worsening the situation. There are ways to exercise your right to enter the premises reasonably and legally. Below you will find a short outline of when you can enter a rental unit.

  • When an emergency occurs
  • When you need to make repairs or check for damage
  • When you need to investigate possible rental violations
  • When you need to show the unit to potential renters
  • When you need to show the unit to mortgage or insurance companies
  • When a tenant invites you inside

If you follow a couple of simple guidelines, you can enter your units legally without worrying about landlord-tenant disputes. For example, always give your tenants at least 24-hours' notice that you need to enter the unit. It is also wise to only enter a unit during your regular business operation hours.

During an emergency such as a fire or a burst water pipe, you do not have to give any notice of your intent to enter. If your renter initiates a formal landlord-tenant dispute because you entered during an emergency, you will likely walk away as the victor. Another great way to prevent landlord-tenant disputes from ever occurring is to work with a real estate attorney toward a goal of protecting yourself against litigation.

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