General Question

mirifique's avatar

Landlord entered apartment to inspect a window without required two days' notice; should I complain?

Asked by mirifique (1537points) May 5th, 2010

The lease agreement states “tenant shall allow landlord access at all reasonable times to said Property for the purposes of inspection, or to show said Property to prospective tenants… Landlord shall, whenever practicable, give the Tenant two (2) days prior notice of his intention to enter the Property.”

However, Revised Code of Washington Section 59.18.150 (PRIVACY—LANDLORD’S ACCESS TO THE RENTAL) reads as follows:

The landlord must give the tenant at least a two day notice of his intent to enter at reasonable times. However, tenants must not unreasonably refuse to allow the landlord to enter the rental where the landlord has given at least one-day’s notice of intent to enter at a specified time to exhibit the dwelling to prospective or actual purchasers or tenants. The law says that tenants shall not unreasonably refuse the landlord access to repair, improve, or service the dwelling. In case of an emergency, or if the property has been abandoned, the landlord can enter without notice. The landlord still must get the tenant’s permission to enter, even if the required advance notice has been given.

Landlord left a note within my apartment—so after he had entered—that he had entered to “inspect a window.” Normally I would not care, but the landlord is in the process of selling the building and there have been numerous “inspections” in the past few weeks, albeit in those instances, proper notice was provided. I’m getting a little peeved and feel quite invaded to find someone else has been in my apartment. I trust that my landlord isn’t a creep, but I still feel that my privacy has been invaded.

My questions: (a) can I say something, per the above provision and (b) should I say something? He did, at one time, drive all the way out to slip a replacement key under my mat when I got locked out (they don’t live on site so this was apparently a big deal for them), so I don’t want to be nasty and obviously legal action would be unnecessary, but I still want to set a boundary and retain some dignity. Thoughts?

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27 Answers

bongo's avatar

Was the window broken? he could maybe say that it was more of an urgent matter as the state of the window posed a security risk to the house. My landlord comes over fairly regularly although usually drops me a text a few hours in advance. our contract says they should give 24 hours notice but they rarely do. If ure landlord is usually very good about this kind of stuff and was a one-off I would maybe tell your landlord that you didnt appreciate him just tipping up like that and could maybe drop you a text in the future, but I personally wouldnt make a big deal about it especially if it has only happened once.
viewings and inspections are very annoying i understand earlier this year we were having up to 5 viewings a week. and it took 4 months for the estate agent to get someone to sign up to the property. rented accomodation is really annoying and students are so indecisive about where to live (i live in a student house) they just dont realise the uphjeaval they cause.

poofandmook's avatar

Oh, man. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING pisses me off more than finding out my landlord has been in my apartment without giving me notice. Or if he happens to call from outside my door right before he goes in or something.

This is probably pretty passive-aggressive, but if you do it right, it won’t seem that way. I would give him a call and say something like “What was wrong with the window? Is it something I should be worried about?” and if he says “no, I was just checking blabbity blah blah” then you say something like “oh, good. I just wondered because I didn’t have a message from you to say that you were going in, so I worried something was wrong.”

Trillian's avatar

I think you’d have to consult a lawyer. Regardless of what the revised code says, the lease you signed says something else. Since he seems like he’s actually doing what he should by keeping the place up and went out of his way to bring you a key, I’d take it with a grain of salt. He did leave a note.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’d go with @poofandmook and call and ask about the window in the nicest tone you can muster. Don’t make a big deal out of it. Did you call about the window in the first place? Why start an adversarial relationship?

mirifique's avatar

@worriedguy Normally I’d agree with you; but why let people walk over you—particularly when it’s your home?

marinelife's avatar

I would object.

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susanc's avatar

Not sure why the choice has to be a) throw a fit or b) feel like you’re being abused. How about: look at your lease – you have a copy, right? See what his rights are, see what your rights are – because the lease you two signed is the document you have to honor. Then call him, thank him for the note, alluding perhaps to good things he does/has done, and tell him the 24-hour (or whatever) notice is important to you. Tell him you understand he’s trying to sell the building, and you want a good new owner too, since you plan to stay, and you want to be helpful, but you can’t, for example, neaten up if you don’t know he’s coming. You want him to be truthful with you – so tell him he can be. You can be allies here.
What do you think?
I’m a landlady, and that’s how we work it, and it’s been good.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

If the building is being sold, management will likely change.
So what do you expect to happen from filing a complaint?

Response moderated
DrasticDreamer's avatar

I don’t think what he did is okay, and I also don’t think that you have to be mean or timid about it. State, in a nice but firm way, that you would appreciate notice beforehand next time. Seriously… What if you had been home and happened to be having sex with someone at the time, or something equally awkward that he could have walked in on? That’s not supposed to be funny, either, I’m completely serious. Major invasion of privacy and it shouldn’t be ignored.

Supacase's avatar

@DrasticDreamer brings up a good point. There are times when you cannot hear the doorbell or a knock on the door even if you are home. Having sex (like she said), showering, listening to music with your headphones on and possibly dancing around naked.

I think you would be doing both of you a favor by bringing this up to him. He could potentially end up in hot water if he came unannounced and saw you naked.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I would call and ask about the status of the window, and if any more unannounced visits are scheduled. It could be that an inspection turned up that there is something wrong with the window that requires repairs. It sounds like he’s a decent landlord; he could have come and gone without leaving you a note, and you would be none the wiser.

mirifique's avatar

He did it again today! I know this because I don’t lock my deadbolt lock when I’m not in the apartment, and today he did not leave a note but the deadbolt was locked. Maybe I am now in breach because I failed to secure the apartment completely, but I don’t see anything in the lease about this.

A few things:

On the one hand, yes, he’s just doing his job, but it’s someone’s home you’re dealing with, not some shed in your back yard just tooling around in, you know? I’m getting all the more verklempt thinking about him walking in on me when I’m sleeping or doing other activities, and really feel like I should raise this issue, EXCEPT that I feel that social rule that you-should-never-burn-your bridges is going to be the name of the success-in-the-world game as soon as more Yelp-for-people sites (like, whereby your co-workers can post negative and defamatory reviews of your work performance online WITHOUT YOU EVEN BEING ABLE TO ACCESS THE SITE because it’s in beta-testing and you need an invite) come out of the woodwork, and I’d really rather not have a negative review from this guy about me as a tenant on some review-your-tenants website, because there was that one time when I forgot to drop my rent check in the special box (::coughTODAY::) and now I have to pay a late fee per the terms of the lease.

On the other hand, forgetting to slip your check in the mail by a few hours (and I even offered to FedEx it, people) seems to be less of a blemish than trespassing on someone else’s legal property (it’s a lease, people; leases temporarily convey possession for a set term and technically I have grounds for a law suit, whereas he has grounds to charge a $25 late fee). Really, the more I think about it, actually (::sigh::), I should ask them to cancel my $25 check in exchange for their breach of the contract via unlawful trespass (both times with no notice). But I need to do this soon so what do you think!? Where my law students and attorneys at?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

A good attorney wouldn’t just slap him with a lawsuit. A good attorney would advise you to talk to him face to face and raise your concerns in that meeting.

I’m not an attorney, but I’d give you the same advice. Don’t tell him a joke, though. Apparently that could get you evicted.

mirifique's avatar

@CyanoticWasp How so (re. joke getting you evicted)?

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

I have had this happen to me before. Twice. Both times I was upset, but more so the second time when the landlord decided to let himself in when I didn’t answer the door in a timely fashion. (I happened to be putting my clothes back on after having sex). By the time I walked out of my bedroom to answer the door, he was standing in my living room with a shocked look on his face. “Oh, I didn’t think you were home.” I was very upset! He gave me no warning, no phone call, no 24 hr notice. Just let himself in! Don’t stand for that. Call him and calmly explain you would appreciate some notice and ask him to respect your privacy. I really hate landlords that think they can get away with this type of thing just because they have a key to your place. It’s not right.

mirifique's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 But would he have grounds to be upset at me for not dead-bolting the apartment (which is how I knew he trespassed)?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@mirifique that was a meta-joke.

mirifique's avatar

@CyanoticWasp Not sure if I follow; was this in relation to the deleted posts

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@mirifique Would a buglar be able to claim, “Hey, it was unlocked…so I let myself in and took a look around” ? No way. That shouldn’t matter. In fact, that’s exactly how I found out about the landlord being in my apt the first time. I didn’t lock my door that day and when I came home from work, it was locked. So I called and asked if he happened to stop by, and he admitted to being there. Nice, huh?

mirifique's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 But am I just going to reinforce the fact that I’m a bad tenant (and end up on if I call him on this?

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@mirifique Not if you go about it in the right way. Don’t be disrespectful or rude (unless he gives you good reason to). Just state your feelings on the matter.

susanc's avatar

@mirifique: at the risk of being very, very rude and pretending I can read your mind, I think you’re more invested in building a case than in taking action. You must speak to this guy, as others (including me) have told you, and you need to do it calmly, and not be all paranoid about stuff like, “Oh I didn’t use the deadbolt and now they have a case against ME.” No, they don’t.

Where’s your damn lease form? Can you read it? Can you find a stipulation it there that you have to use your deadbolt? You cannot, because it’s not there.

You must take yourself in hand, my dear. Contracts exist to protect both parties. You are in the right, and the contract will support that. But it can’t if you insist on freaking out instead of reading it and then using it as a good tool for your conversation.
Unless you do this, you are choosing victimization. Don’t.

poofandmook's avatar

ooh I’d be spitting mad if it happened twice.

Please keep us updated. What a horrible thing, feeling violated in your one safe place.

tcarrin58's avatar

Call the Landlord’s Association Bureau

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