Landlord is not giving tenant access to house, for hours or days on end. Rent is paid, is this legal?

I asked this in another section, looking for more response.

My sisters landlord is selling the house she is living in. Her lease ends 11/1, she has already secured another house but has not moved as of yet. Her current landlord has a real estate agent who has daily called my sister to set up showings, sometimes only giving her 15 minutes notice. At that time she is expected to pack herself, and her 3 children up and leqave for an hour. One of her children is Autistic, and the other 2 are 1 and 2 years old respectively. Simply packing up and leaving for an hour is a major problem. This weekend the agent had showings all day today, and 3 tomorrow so the landlord told my sister to leave for the weekend, she the whole crowd is staying here with me.

Frankly, I think the landlord is an *** for thinking this is ok. Does't the landlord have to give 24 hours notice? AND how can a landlord tell her she has to vacate for hours or even days on end?? She has paid her rent on time (usually early) her whole tenancy. The landlord is actually paid up untill 11/1 so the landlord is effectively not giving her what she paid for, right?

I have told her to stand her ground, but the landlord is an idiot. The landlord has put it in writing that whenever there is a showing, she is to vacate untill the agent leaves. STUPID!! Last night the agent called her at 5 to tell her that she had people wantiong to look at the house, but my sister could not get back in untill 9pm! The landlord is extremely eager to unload the house so in the process is tromping all over my sister and her 3 kids.

She does not have the right to tell her to vacate DAILY does she?

Or to VACATE for an entire weekend? She has paid rent to this idiot, but is having to stay elsewhere, or drive around in her car untill her house is empty again.

The landlord actually wrote her a letter stating that the agent will be calling to give her as much notice as possible, and that at that point she is to remove herself, her children and her pets (2 cats, 1 bird) untill the agent calls her to tell her that the showing is over. It was simply a letter the landlord wrote, not a provision in her lease. Her lease says that if its an emergency repair someone can come in, otherwise 24 hours notice is required. I think 24 hours is the LAW anyway. I just cringe at her paying rent someplace, only to spend her time sitting in her car with 3 kids and 2 cats and a bird waiting for an agent to leave her house!


The landlord just wrote her a letter, signed it and dated it saying that as the house was for sale a realtor would be calling her to alert her to showings, and at that time she is to pick up herself her children and her pets and leave untill the showing is over. The realtor gave her 15 minutes notice last night!!

This is in Mass

Update 2:

She has zero issues with people viewing the home! Her issue is the fact that she is told not to be there, and is given less that even 1 hours notice!! She paid a substantial sum to rent that house, and is sleeping in my den this weekend! And the last week she has spent many, many MANY hours driving around in her car waiting for some birdbrained realtor to finish showing a house! Last night when she got home it was also evident that the realtor and the prospective buyers had helped themselves to sodas from her fridge, and then just left the empty cans on her counter. Obviously they were not concerned that it ws after 8pm and she had no access to her home. It is so disgusting!

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    She needs to take a copy of her lease and a copy of the landlords letters and she needs to go talk to a lawyer. In most cases the law tends to side with the tennant. She is not being treated fairly by her landlord. It is absolutely unreasonable to ask her to leave the house. Any prospective buyer would not concider this an issue if current tennants are in the house. Furthermore most states have a law requiring 24 hours notice for a visit. She can be accomidating and allow them to come whenever, but the real estate agent knows this, and the landlord knows this too. Every state has a housing department, they handle issues like this. Look up the housing department in her state and call them.


    Right Against Unlawful Entry: (M.G.L., c. 186, sec. 15B) The landlord may

    enter the tenant's apartment under a right of entry clause by written

    agreement only for the following reasons:

    * to inspect the premises

    * to make repairs

    * to show the apartment to a prospective tenant, purchaser, mortgagee

    or its agents

    * in accordance with a court order

    * if the premises appear to have been abandoned

    * to inspect the premises within the last 30 days of the tenancy or to

    determine the amount of damage to be deducted from the security deposit

    after notice to terminate has been given.

    The landlord should be "reasonable." S/He should attempt to arrange a

    mutually convenient time to visit the apartment. If the landlord persists

    in entering your apartment in an unreasonable fashion, you should file

    for a temporary restraining order at your local district court.

    21. Landlord Entering the Unit

    It comes as a surprise to many people, but legally, even a rented home is your castle, and the landlord does not have an unlimited right of access. Once you have rented an apartment, it belongs to you for the duration of your tenancy. The landlord has no right to enter your private home without permission. Unless the rental agreement specifies otherwise, the landlord doesn't even have a right to a key.

    Originally, in an agricultural society, the law expected the landlord to rent the property to you and then leave you alone. It gave the landlord no right of access, but also no responsibility for repairs. The modern urban tenancy, especially in a multi-unit building with many building-wide systems, has forced that law to change. The landlord now has an obligation to make repairs and gets a right of access for that purpose. But that does not supersede your rights to privacy and to "quiet enjoyment" of the premises.

    One of the most common landlord-tenant disputes involves access for making repairs. The State Sanitary Code requires you to allow the landlord "reasonable access" at reasonable times to repair code violations. What is "reasonable" is the subject of frequent disputes. You may insist on giving the landlord access only by appointment, but you must be reasonable about scheduling appointments. To give an extreme example, since the landlord usually must schedule tradespeople during their normal working day, it is not reasonable for you to insist that the plumber can only come in on Sunday evening.

    Plumbers, carpenters, painters, and other tradespeople sometimes seem to live in a completely different time zone. If they fail to keep appointments, make sure you document that fact by a letter or e-mail to the landlord and keep a copy. Some landlords use lack of access as an excuse. Be sure to keep appointments yourself and keep a good written record of your efforts to allow the landlord access to your apartment to make the repairs you want made.

    In a genuine emergency, the landlord may enter your unit without prior notice in order to deal with the emergency. A fire, a flood, or a burst pipe is an emergency. The sudden availability of a carpenter is not.

    Housing courts can often be helpful in mediating disputes over access. Your position at all times should be to cooperate reasonably with the landlord s need for access and to document your cooperation with careful record-keeping. If necessary, with a particularly difficult landlord, a witness who can observe and later testify about the landlord s conduct, can be valuable.

    You should insist that the landlord or his/her representative be with repair people at all times when they are in your apartment in your absence. It is not unknown for tradespeople to use a tenant's good bath towel as a cleaning rag, steal property, or make long-distance telephone calls from a tenant's phone.

    Many leases give the landlord certain entry rights. Under Massachusetts General Laws, ch.186, §15B, a rental agreement may only provide for the following rights to access:

    to inspect the premises;

    to make repairs;

    to show the premises to a prospective tenant, purchaser, mortgagee, or its agent.

    The landlord may also enter the premises in accordance with a court order or if you appear to have abandoned the premises.

    If your lease allows the landlord to enter for any other reason, that provision is illegal and void. The landlord's right to inspect the premises or to show them to a prospective purchaser does not mean that s/he can do it every day twice a day. You can limit inspections to reasonable frequency. Unless the lease provides that you must give your landlord a key to your apartment, s/he has no right to one. The fact that a lease allows the landlord a right to enter for certain purposes does not mean that the landlord may enter your private residence at any time without appointment.

    The right of the landlord to enter if you appear to have abandoned the premises sometimes causes a problem at the time of moving out. You may have moved out most of your furniture and intend to return to pick up the last few things and clean up the apartment before turning in the keys. But the landlord may jump the gun and come in ahead of you, remove your remaining property, and try to charge you for the "mess" you left. To avoid this, be clear with your landlord about your plans to vacate, and do it in writing.

    We once saw a case where the tenant came back from vacation and found someone else living in his apartment and his furniture stored in the cellar. He wasn't behind on the rent, but he had been away for awhile, and the landlord somehow concluded that he had abandoned the apartment. If you are going away, it may be a good idea to inform the landlord of your plans, preferably in writing. If you are away for an extended time, don t pay the rent, and don t respond to the landlord s inquiries, a court may find the landlord justified in concluding that you have abandoned the apartment.

    Your sister is being wronged. She is not required to leave. She needs to take the letter from the landlord as well as how many times the real estate agent has entered the premises to housing court! Her landlord has broken VERY important laws, and by writing the letter to her he has documented it for her.

  • 1 decade ago

    In the state of MA you are not required to leave and the showings must be during regular hours. They also must give REASONABLE notice. I would state that 15 minutes is not reasonable notice, nor is being forced to vacate for days at a time. In the state of MA, reasonable notice, with emergencies being the only exception is 24 hours.

    At the very least they should be offering the tenant some sort of perk if the tenant chooses to leave, like a good break on the rent so they can afford a dinner out, or, in the case of a weekend away, the cost of a hotel room in a DECENT hotel.

    Talk to a lawyer about it.

  • 1 decade ago

    You are correct in that state law does address your situation and, most likely, in your favor. Each state is a little different, but there are basic common items.

    As long as you hold tenancy (you've agreed to rent the premises and have not already relinquished the keys), then it doesn't even matter if you're behind in the rent. You still cannot be denied access.

    You also cannot be required to vacate the premises during a showing for potential sale.

    Whether for sale or just for safety inspection, you must be provided with 24 hours advance notice. Your presence is not required, as the landlord will have his own keys for entry. If he does not, that is not the tenant's problem.

    Contrary to popular belief, ownership is not the total basis of the law. When someone rents, they are paying for temporary ownership. Only the landlord's VALUE in the property is protected. Also contrary to popular belief, simply putting something in writing does not make it legal. And finally, simply because you agree to it, it's not necessarily legal because a contract must be mutually beneficial to both parties. not one-sided.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    I don't know where you are from, but it is you who have formed the contract and they have signed it. You also decide the conditions. If they ignore the conditions then they are breaching. If you have not got a signed contract, then there are no conditions and you have no legal right over them. You allowed them into the house. Yes money and family don't mix, no matter what the amount. If they have signed a contract, then they have signed it on the grounds that they will fulfil the contracts obligations. My understanding is if they have breached the contract, then you can ask them to move immediately. If they do not then there would be a clause that says either of you give 2 weeks or a month as the case may be, to end the lease agreement. This would be because they have broken contractual obligations. So does viewing the house form part of the contract?. If no, then they are not obliged to allow entry, although you certainly have the right to enter the house with or without them there, once you have specified the time and date and given them adequate notice. Equally, you could take someone in with you after giving notice. Is it purely just you signing the lease agreement. If not then the other person has a right to entry as well (your mom, take the police). Your issue is that you may have no contract and you have allowed them to stay. They could actually stop paying rent and until you took them to court, there is nothing you could do about it! If they are not respecting your rights and taking advantage of your generosity, then I would just outright threaten them. First I would find them their options, then I would offer them the options and make it nice by giving them $1000 assistance. This will be worth the outlay to regain your house right? If they refuse then I would threaten legal action and eviction. If you need to go this far, then be prepared to let the grandchildren stay with relatives while the parents go and look for a house. Honestly, if they are this irresponsible then mate, they are gonna take you to the point of no return and then they will make you feel guilty about it. People do this a lot and I feel for you, but whats the worst that can happen... you get sacked, lose your money, your houses cause they wouldn't let you have it to sell... it's your property, don't let them take it from you because they have no conscience! Go and do some reading on Property Law and look for the Property Law Act of your State. Leasor's and Leasees rights, rentors rights, terms of rental agreements, agreements where no lease is signed...etc... Oh and if there is no contract, you can forget about recovering costs, so get them out asap before they trash... Bribery goes a long way with family members, make it worth their whilke, do the hard yards for them, organise the furniture removalist... then don't pay for any of it...right? (Im from Australia but Property Law and contract law are similar in countries). You want to do what is possible to avoid them changing the locks on you right! I hope you have the deed etc for the house so if it gets nasty, don't tell them, wait for them to leave to work, get a locksmith, load their stuff and say goodbye! Best wishes!

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  • 1 decade ago

    How exactly does the landlord have it in writing? Is it in the lease or did he just hand her a notice? What state is this in?

    Every law I've looked up so far is that the renter must allow a showing during normal business hours only and is not required to leave.


    Mass. law site

    Tell the landlord AND the real estate agent to only come during business hours and you WILL NOT leave if you have no where to go. Might even want to think about suing the guy for the time he took from her life.

  • 1 decade ago

    I myself have autism, I am high functioning as you can tell, but you might wanna check the law of Massachusetts.

    I do know that in some states, there are laws saying that a Landlord cannot ban a tenant from where the tenant lives while the lease is in effect, especially if the rent has been paid.

    I am honestly not sure what the law in Massachusetts is on this but I know this is the law in some states.

    Some states also prohibit Landlords from coming into a tenants residence without consent of tenant if the lease agreement says the Landlord is not to come in without tenant's consent.

    There are also laws in some states that allow a tenant to sue Landlords if Landlords break the lease, such a thing happened to one of my neighbors who had sold a videostore to their niece so they could retire from owning a business (although the wife from that couple happens to be on Village Council so she is not completely retired), but their niece tried to sell the place, she had trouble selling and so her Aunt and Uncle bought it back from them, but shortly after, the Landlord of the building broke the lease when he chose to sell it, the videostore went out of business but the couple sued the Landlord.

  • 1 decade ago

    Simple, my friend. The landlord has a right to enter the premises with reasonable notice and within reasonable hours for this purpose. Your sister cannot be "ordered" to pack up and leave to facilitate the showing. She should just sit tight and carry on with her normal affairs when the realtor turns up - if he doesn't like it, tough. Perhaps it might help the prospective tenants too, to realise what the landlord is like . . .

  • DW
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Yes in most states it is mandatory for a 24 hour notice unless it is an emergency.

    I would suggest that your sister set up a day for all to view the house rather then a random cold call every 10 minutes or so?

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    If the lease does not require her to vacate the premises so the landlord can show it to prospective buyers, I would suggest she NOT do it without a reasonable notice and for only a reasonable period of time.

    She may be required to allow the viewings, but is probably not required to vacate.

  • 6 years ago

    No IN every state

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