Permission to Enter: When Someone Can Legally Enter Your ApartmentDecember 21st, 2010 by Staff Writer
An individual with permission to enter your apartment does not have unrestricted access to your residence. The parameters of when and why a person with permission to enter your apartment is set by you or the paper authorizing entry.
General Permission to Enter
A general permission to enter can only be granted specifically by you. Typically, this authorization must be in writing and signed, and state that the authorized party can enter at any time for any reason. This type of permission to enter is extremely rare because very few tenants take the time to create this document. A verbal granting of this privilege may grant the individual the same amount of access, but is not as secure and could not be treated as giving the person true permission to enter.
Landlord’s Authority to Enter
Typically, your landlord has no right to enter your apartment unless you specifically authorize him to do so, you schedule an appointment with him, or he schedules an appointment to enter. A landlord can enter your apartment to inspect the appliances or parts of the building, but only if he has notified you previously that he will be doing so, preferably at least 48 hours in advance. Otherwise, a landlord cannot legally enter your apartment without express permission from you.
The exception to this is in an eviction. A landlord can enter the apartment of an evicted tenant, but only after the eviction has been approved by a court and the landlord is accompanied by the police. A landlord that enters without a court ordered eviction notice or the police is entering illegally.
What this means is that your landlord does not have unrestricted access to your apartment at any time. Any clause in your lease that states otherwise is unenforceable because it infringes on your right to possession of the apartment. A landlord that enters your apartment without notice and without permission is therefore in violation of your rights as a tenant.
A Specific Permission to Enter
You can also give permission to enter to your landlord or another individual for a specific purpose. This purpose could be to make repairs or to perform some sort of service, such as cleaning the apartment. In either of these situations the permitted person can enter your apartment and complete the task or purpose for his entry.
If, however, the individual performs other tasks or duties or does other things that do not fall within the scope of why he was permitted to enter he will have violated the permission to enter. For example, your cleaning service can legally enter to clean your apartment, but if they stay after cleaning to watch movies, their staying is in violation of the permission to enter.
The only way to reinforce your right to decide who and when persons can enter your apartment in this instance is to completely revoke the cleaning person’s permission. You can then reestablish the permission to enter by stating the parameters that govern when the party can legally enter your apartment. Damages for violating your permission in this situation would only be recoverable if you suffered some financial or emotional distress due to the violation of the entry.