As a landlord, you may occasionally want to enter the apartments you lease out. While you might own the place, you cannot just enter when you feel like it. Tenants have the right to a certain amount of privacy.
This can create conflicts for you, as a landlord. Understanding your rights and obligations can help.
What does New York law say?
Landlords can enter one of their properties without permission or advance warning if there is an emergency. For example, if a tenant went out and left their hair tongs switched on, a landlord would be entirely within their rights to go in when they smelt smoke coming from the apartment. Doing so might prevent a fire from spreading and endangering the property and others.
If a downstairs neighbor complained of water dripping through the ceiling, a landlord would again be within their rights to enter the problem apartment and turn off the tap.
Landlords should knock first
Knocking on the door gives any tenant inside the chance to open it and reduces the chance they feel intruded upon.
Non-emergencies need warning
Landlords need to advise tenants beforehand if they wish to enter to show someone around or make a repair. Ideally, you make the required notice period clear in the lease agreement. Tenants can, of course, admit a landlord without notice, but they are not obliged to if there is no emergency.
Landlords should protect themselves
Tenants could claim that a landlord who entered without their permission stole something, was trying to harass them or even catch them naked in the shower. Hence it is always better to enter with the tenant present and willing. If you face problems from a tenant unhappy that you entered, seek legal help to understand your next steps.