General Question

hsl59's avatar

Does my landlord have the right to change interior doors in my apartment without my knowledge?

Asked by hsl59 (7points) June 10th, 2019

I came home to find one of my interior bedroom doors had been changed in my apartment. I made no complaints about any interior doors. I know it’s been changed because all the other doors are dark brown and this one is a light tan color and doesn’t close correctly. This was done without my knowledge from the landlord/maintenance. This isn’t the first time they have been in my apartment without prior knowledge. They are the only ones with a key to this apartment other than myself. Can they do this?

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23 Answers

gorillapaws's avatar

IANAL but I’m pretty sure they need to give you notice unless there’s an emergency (like a gas leak). The rules may vary state-to-state though.

jca2's avatar

What @gorillapaws said. Check your state laws. There should be a Landlord/Tenant department in the county that can advise you.

Inspired_2write's avatar

I agree with @gorilliapaws, as a landlord is supposed to give notice ( written preferred, but verbal is usually the norm).

Here they will be doing an inspection of our apartment fire alarms and the management just verbally informed everyone at a General meeting. Sometimes people forget that it was mentioned especially since a week has gone by and still no inspections as yet?

About a year ago I had an episode where the janitor knocked once, then unlocked my door before I had a chance to walk to my door! Apparently he was showing clients what the apartments looked like and just thought that he could “just walk in” anytime, not realizing that I was home at on my computer at the time and I turned and saw him when he apologized then shut the door again. I opened the door and walked over to then in the hallway asking what they wanted?
He stated that he just wanted to show may apartment as its the biggest one here, and I then invited them in for a quick look.
I have no plans on moving from my apartment so I wonder what the heck he was doing???
He never did that again!

jca2's avatar

@hsl59: Ideally, the LL should have given you a few days notice, in writing.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Unless, as mention, it’s a case of emergency (again, gas leak or something suchlike) the landlord should not even be entering the house without giving you advanced notice (here in Illinois it’s at least 24 hours, your state may vary), even if it’s to make repairs. The property you’re renting is, in essence, considered your private domain for as long as you’re renting it. The landlord cannot just enter any time he/she pleases.

MrGrimm888's avatar

In my state, there is a mandatory 24 hour notice.

When I move into a new place, I change the locks, whether it’s legal or not. If I could not do that, I at least add bolt/chain locks, so nobody can enter unannounced. Again, legal or not. I lived in one apartment where I had the maintenance guy try to come in several times, without any notice. He tried it one day, when I was home, and got a gun in his face. He always gave notice after that. However, it was obvious that he had fully intended to come and go, as he pleased with likely nefarious intentions.
You can’t trust people. Landlords are one thing, but maintenance people who have keys to each dwelling, are too often untrustworthy.

Patty_Melt's avatar

The details such a how you are notified, and how much advance time, but it is illegal in every state for a landlord, maintenance, or anyone to enter your residence without advance notice. Some states vary in how specific they need to be about what time they will arrive.

The exception, of course, is the case of emergency.

In addition to whatever steps you choose to take, I would invest in what is often called a nanny cam.
There are many choices online of cameras small enough to easily hide. Some active automatically by motion, or sound, or light, or a combination.
Those are fairly inexpensive. There is also a Webcam option which let’s you know if it is activated while you are not home, and you can watch and record what is happening.

I think nail the jerk.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Darth_Algar's avatar


Sounds like the maintenance guy at an apartment complex I use to live at. He would enter unannounced from what I gather (for some reason I seemed to have the only apartment in the place that had a bolt latch inside, and yes, I kept it latched anytime I was home). Apparently one day he’d walked in on one of my neighbors while she was stark naked except for a towel (having just got out of the shower). Needless to say he no longer had a job there by the end of the day. Not sure if there were any other repercussions against him.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Yes the janitor has keys to all the apartments supposedly in case of an emergency.
Nefarious, I agree, several residents are missing items from there apartments, small easy to carry items like clothes, books, jewelry,notebooks, videos etc
Someone is playing games here and stirring up the chickens.
Causes a lot of headaches from seniors who get upset and keep the pot stirring.
I was glad that I was at home in my apartment on the computer when that janitor (operations title) opened my door.
I realize in an emergency like for instance a stove fire undetected and the “operations manager” had to open it and found the senior asleep and unaware that she left her pot on the stove ..even with smoke billowing into the hallway she never noticed???
Resident across the hallway got the smoke into his apartment an alerted the manager after several tries and NO one answering!
I think that everyone should have those safety stove burners installed, but management disagrees, because of the costs ( $200 for a set of 4).
Another time a senior had a stroke and fell on the floor, no one knew of course but found her door opened and someone looked in on her and discovered .( she survived, but had two or more years therapy to regain her use of her limbs there is a need for entry, but the person must use discretion and always knock first.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I’m more interested in the apparent necessity to switch the doors. Why the intrusion, violation of your space and just plain trouble to switch out the doors? What was “special” about the former door. Where is it now? When you consider the likelihood of you noticing the switch, the landlord ran the considerable risk of you noticing the intrusion with resulting awkward legal implications. Were I you, I would inquire about this? For one thing, there is the intriguing possibility that it wasn’t your landlord who traded the doors.

jca2's avatar

@stanleybmanly: The owner is allowed to make improvements to the unit.

Inspired_2write's avatar

@jca2 I agree but its the owners responsibility to inform the tenant in setting a time to do so.

jca2's avatar

@Inspired_2write Yes I agree with that and said it above.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Okay. What’s the improvement? I mean was the tenant complaining about the door? The landlord takes it upon himself to replace a single door in an apartment interior absent input from the tenant?

jca2's avatar

@stanleybmanly: A new door is an improvement.

A door that closes is an improvement over a door that didn’t close.

Just because the tenant didn’t request a new door doesn’t mean the landlord doesn’t have the right to put a new door in.

Darth_Algar's avatar


I think you’re missing the forest for the trees here.

jca2's avatar

@Darth_Algar: Does the landlord have the right? Call the county or state and ask them, then. I gave my thoughts, based on what I know from my work and from my family working in real estate.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@jca2. The door in question is an interior door about which the tenant had NO complaints. Not only is it odd that the landlord would take it upon himself to change a perfectly adequate working door with one which doesn’t close, but there’s the curious question of the landlord failing to notify the tenant of his intentions. The tenant is owed an explanation as well as a door that works.

jca2's avatar

I read it wrong, @stanleybmanly. I see now that the new door is the one that doesn’t work, not the old door.

Still, the landlord, as representative of the owner, has the right to alter things in the unit.

I said repeatedly the tenant needs to be notified, in my posts above.

To verify that the landlord has the right to alter things, if nobody believes me, I urge the OP to contact local landlord/tenant department of the County or State, also as I have been saying repeatedly.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@jca2 ” Does the landlord have the right? Call the county or state and ask them, then. I gave my thoughts, based on what I know from my work and from my family working in real estate.”

Does the landlord have the right? Certainly. But that’s not really the crux of @stanleybmanly‘s point.

From his post: ” When you consider the likelihood of you noticing the switch, the landlord ran the considerable risk of you noticing the intrusion with resulting awkward legal implications. Were I you, I would inquire about this? For one thing, there is the intriguing possibility that it wasn’t your landlord who traded the doors.”

The implication is that ether the landlord is taking an odd risk with no discernible benefit in defiance of all logic (which should raise some red flags about the landlord). The other possibility is that someone else, unbeknownst to the tenant, has access to the apartment. And if that’s the case then ether the landlord knows, and is involved in something inappropriate (and likely downright illegal), or the landlord doesn’t know and should be made aware of immediately.

MrGrimm888's avatar

The bottom line is that you have to, unfortunately, assume that you can’t trust strangers with the ability to open your doors…

Know your lease, and rights. And make sure that you call out people who violate said rights.

jca2's avatar

Then ask the landlord and see what he says.

My answer was regarding rights, which was what the OP was asking.

If a stranger is going around accessing apartments, installing doors for no benefit, unbeknownst to other tenants or management, that would be weird, but who knows.

It appears the tenant has some investigating to do. The OP (tenant) hasn’t been back to discuss this further so I guess we’ll never know.

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