TENANTS LEGAL CENTER
OF SAN DIEGO


PRIVACY and ENTRY BY LANDLORD

            

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The right to Privacy is a very important one.   It means protection of personal information and against unwanted or excessive intrusions into the home by a landlord or his/her agents.

Private information of tenants is normally given in the application process.  Information about income, bank accounts debts etc is routinely provided when completing rental applications.  While the right of privacy is waived for the purpose of the application, it is not waived as to the world.   Thus, the law protects tenants in that a landlord should not
 share that information with others.

Renting a home means that the tenant has bought, for a time, the exclusive right to possess that home.  The landlord has legal title and the tenant has a form of possessory title to the property.  That means the tenant has the exclusive right of possession of the home.  Thus, people can not enter without special permission or statutory authority to do so. 

In California, at least 24 hours notice is required for each intended entry (subject to the exceptions as set forth below in Civil Code 1954).  Specifically allowable reasons are needed for each entry and specific notice guidelines must be followed.  The right of entry must not be abused.  There is no general right in California to carry out routine inspections of the rental unit during the tenancy except as part of the "initial inspection" regarding the security deposit within two weeks prior to moving out.  According to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) a tenant can refuse to allow a lockbox on the property if the property is listed for sale in the MLS.  (see rule 13.5 ).  The Entry by Landlord code limits entries to "normal business hours" but the court in
 Dromy v. Lukovsky 8/30/2013 ruled that these could include Saturdays and Sundays. for having open houses to exhibit the property (with some special rules on frequency per month and the notice required)

Document any wrongful entry with a polite letter and ask that it not be repeated.  If such entries are repeated despite your requests, a more forceful approach may be in order.  This may include seeking the assistance of an attorney to write a letter on your behalf educating the landlord as to the true rights and responsibilities in that situation.  Many times, that will solve the problem.  If not, further legal action may be necessary.

See  CALIFORNIA CIVIL CODE section 1954  which sets forth the rules, reasons, when and by what procedure a Landlord can enter the premises.

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California law for San Diego is applied in these pages.  Such laws may or may not be applicable in other jurisdictions.  The information provided herein is of a general nature and is not intended to be taken as specific legal advice.  For legal advice in a particular situation, promptly consult with an appropriate attorney.