When a Landlord’s Right to Enter Rental Property Violates the Tenant’s Privacy
Under Florida law, landlords have a right to enter their rental property under specific circumstances. However, Florida landlords must meet certain legal notice requirements when exercising their right to access.
If you – as a landlord – are unsure about whether you have the right to enter your rental property, or you – as a tenant – worry about your privacy rights, talk to a West Palm Beach landlord-tenant litigation attorney. Typically, clauses on the landlord’s right to access and tenant privacy are included in the lease or rental agreement.
When Can a Landlord Enter Rental Property?
Allowable reasons for a landlord to enter their rental property in Florida include:
- Making repairs (e.g., to fix a faulty faucet);
- Inspecting the property for maintenance and safety issues;
- Showing the rental property to a prospective tenant when the current tenant’s lease agreement expires; or
- Showing the rental property to a potential buyer.
When Advance Notice is Required
State tenant privacy laws require landlords to provide a certain amount of notice (typically, up to 48 hours) before entering their rental unit. However, Florida law is less tenant-friendly in that regard. Under Florida law, a landlord must give the tenant at least 12 hours’ notice before entering the rental unit.
While tenant privacy laws do not specify the exact hours that a landlord may access the rental unit, the landlord is allowed to enter the property at “reasonable” hours. If a landlord has a legitimate reason to enter the rental unit but the tenant restricts access after reasonable notice has been provided, the landlord may have grounds for eviction.
Consult with a knowledgeable attorney before terminating the tenancy for violation of the lease or rental agreement to avoid a potential landlord-tenant dispute.
When Advance Notice is Not Required
When responding to an emergency (flooding, fire, or another), a landlord is always allowed to enter the rental property without giving any notice. Notice is also not required if the tenant allows the landlord to visit without providing notice or invites him/her to enter the rental unit.
What to Do if the Landlord Invades a Tenant’s Privacy?
Generally, tenants have two legal options when their landlords invade their privacy. Before taking legal action, the tenant must ask the landlord to stop unlawful entry and then make the same request in writing.
In the tenant’s letter, he or she must warn of taking legal action if the behavior does not stop. If the landlord continues to invade the tenant’s privacy by entering the rental unit without providing appropriate notice or without any legitimate reason, a tenant has two legal remedies:
- Suing the Landlord for Invading Your Privacy
If a landlord has repeatedly entered the rental unit without advance notice, you may sue him or her for:
- Invasion of privacy
- Illegal trespass
- Interference with your right to undisturbed use and enjoyment of the rental property
- Infliction of emotional distress
Before bringing a lawsuit against your landlord, consult with a knowledgeable West Palm Beach landlord-tenant litigation attorney.
- Ending the Lease to Move Out
If the landlord invades your privacy, you may have grounds to move out without having to wait for the end of your lease. By invading your privacy, the landlord has breached the lease.
Contact our West Palm Beach landlord-tenant litigation lawyers at Pike & Lustig, LLP, to determine the most appropriate option in your case. Call at 561-291-8298 for a case evaluation.