Tenant's rights vs. landlord's

sleepless_stMarch 4, 2005

I'm moving out of my apartment in about a week. A couple of days ago I came home to find a message from the apartment manager that someone was interested in my unit. I called the apartment manager back and found out that he had already shown my place to the prospective tenant. The time between the phone call and my arrival home was less than two hours.

I was a little annoyed that I had not received more notice and did some research. According to state law, tenants must be given at least a day's notice before their residence can be shown.

I printed this information out and gave it to the apartment manager with a request that he give me 24 hours' notice before letting someone in to my place. He did not take it well. He said "Fine. Consider this your notice. I might be bringing someone by tomorrow." And he added that he would just leave me a message everyday saying that he might be bringing someone by. Which essentially puts me back on square one - not knowing when someone is going to be viewing my apartment.

I'm worried that the apartment manager will be vindictive and not return my deposit. Should I write a letter to the landlord explaining what happened?

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You could make the landlord aware of the situation. It could give you more leverage later on. But if you do, be very nice about it. If you make the apartment manager to look like too much of a bad guy, they may both turn against you.

Or, think of it this way. You only have to put up with this for a week. Bite your lip and bear it for a little while longer. But at least document the conversation you had with the apartment manager in case you need it.

Just for a few moments, put yourself in the position of the apartment manager. He has a business to run. Tennants to take care of. He is responsible for keeping the rent coming in by keeping the apartments rented. Prospective tennants show up without making appointments 24 hours in advance. Did you show up without a 24 hour advance notice when you checked this place out? What would you have done if the manager told you to come back tomorrow because he had to now go give notice to someone that he was going to show their appartment? You might not come back. And he just lost business. Just something to think about.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 8:17AM
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Thanks for your help. And the new perspective. I still don't feel like the situation warranted the passive-aggressive response I received, but like you said, I'm out of here soon.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 2:10PM
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You have to be willing to accept, as a tenant, the things that you enjoyed as a apartment-seeker. If you walked in with no warning, to inspect an apartment, you can expect the apartment to be shown with no warning.

I'm only slightly less aggressive about showing an apartment than your landlord: I notify exiting tenants that the weekends of that last month WILL BE used to show the place from 10AM through 4PM, and that I expect them to have it clean. In my experience, the first weekend of the month is the best ... everyone has given notice and is looking. Second best is the next-to-last weekend, when people are getting desperate.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 4:38PM
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I was a landlord for 20 years and didn't know you could show an apartment or house before the renter moved out. We would never have done that and we never went into an apartment without checking with the renter first.

If I was a renter I would have had to see the law in black and white before I let my landlord take strangers into my home. I am sure realtors are bonded, but don't think landlords are.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 7:43PM
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About 15 years ago, I had given my notice to move out of an apartment. Like you, I was supposed to receive 24 hours notice before the landlord brought anyone in. One day I was in the shower and heard a knock at the door. I didn't go answer the door. Imagine my surprise when I walked out a few minutes later and there was the landlord showing another potential tenant my apartment. I guess I was lucky that I was wearing a robe that day.

I have shown up without notice and have only been shown empty apartments. One time, a landlord did knock on a door to ask the people if we could look inside. Knowing what I know now, I think I'd run the other way if a landlord just took me inside with out the tenant there.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2005 at 1:03PM
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I am a landlord and I would never enter someone's place without giving notice.
Personally or by phone not just by note on a door.
Yes, you should inform the landlord of the managers actions.
This manager is trouble and they need to be aware!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 6:08AM
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Thanks for all the responses. I will be writing the landlord, and enclose a copy of the letter I gave the apartment manager.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 5:06PM
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I have been living in my apartment for two years and do not have a lease. My landlord told me three days ago on 5/11 that her daughter is going to have to move into my apartment because she was getting a divorce and it is the only apartment that could fit her furniture (there are 5 other apartments in the building). The landlord told me that my husband and I have until 6/30 to get out of the apartment. I just wanted to know what my rights are as a tenant.

Thank You

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 7:04PM
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Tracey -
You probably have to move ... without a lease, you are a month-to-month tenant, and it only takes a month's notice to cancel that kind of tenancy. You had a month and a half.

You could have been told as late as 5/30 and it would be legal.

In the future, if you like the place, get a full year's lease!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 8:38PM
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How about a follow-up? What happened?
The manager was wrong. You don't walk into someones place unless you sense an emergency or you gave a notice. This is just plain decency and manners.
If the manager wants to play games, tell him you want the notice in writing everyday and he must wait for consent.
You can't just tack something on a door and assume a tenant gets it. Any reasonable magistrate should agree with this if it went to court.
BUT.... as with tenants/landlords... usually tenants lose on every count because the landlord has the property and can make up a numerous amount of reasonings for basically any action.. and get away with it.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 1:12AM
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I once had a landlord who actually put into the lease that he could enter my apartment (in the upstairs of his house) at any time after knocking first on the door. I don't think that was legal but I was young and dumb and didn't know any better.

One time, I was asleep in the middle of the afternoon (sick) and didn't hear him knock on the door. I only woke up when he and several of his extended family members came traipsing through the living room -- he wanted to show them around "his" house, and my apartment was included in the tour!

Since then, I've steered clear of landlords who seemed overly interested in me or my life. He was a real freak -- and the best part was that he was a traveling evangelist!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 12:04PM
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I'm renting an apartment in a rent control area of L.A.
I've lived in this apartment for over 10 years, so my rent is relatively cheap. The new owners of the building have approached me by offering me a sum of money to move out. What are my options? Can I be forced to move out? Can I ask for a higher amount? Can I delay the process till I find another place? Any insight to this will be helpful.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 10:10PM
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Check with your local housing authority for the right answers - opinions may not really help if the people don't know actual by-laws there.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 5:39AM
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Under California law, landlords are required to give a 24 hour notice in writing if they are to enter your apartment. This means they can post the notice on your door one day and show the apartment the next. Verbal notice is not legal. Your manager has not only disrespected you, but has broken the law by entering your apartment without proper notice. The only exception to this is an emergency situation. Showing an apartment is not considered an emergency.

I might, on occasion, ask a tenant, if they are home and if it is convenient, if I could show the apartment to a prospective resident.

You need to check your agreement to also see if the landlord has the right to show your apartment to prospective renters. Most agreements do allow for this, but should you have an agreement that does not, you don't have to.

You might want to let the landlord know about the behaviour of the manager after you have received your security deposit.

Be sure to take pictures of your apartment and ask for a walk-thru with the manager or owner upon move out.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 2:29PM
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We had that put in our contract .That we could show it.Is it in your contract ,you missed it?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 7:23AM
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Ask when you sign. My lease says a written 24 hour notice. Last 45 days of occupancy I have to give no notice to show the apartment for re-rental. I will always call, and showings will be between 9 am and 7 pm.

When I recive the move out notice a letter is sent out with my expectations and a phone call is made seeing if there is a better or worse time to enter the unit.

Only once has it been a problem. In that case the tenant paid an extra month rent after he moved so I would leave him alone his last two months.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 1:06AM
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