I recently read a blog post about a landlord who walked in on one of his tenants at an inconvenient time. And I thought it might be worthwhile to pass along in the hope that you can avoid making the same faux pas.
This landlord does routine maintenance on his rental homes. And one afternoon he stopped by a rental house to change the air-conditioning filter. No cars were in the driveway or carport. He knocked a few times on the door. No answer. So he let himself in.
He walked down the hall with his ladder and new filter in hand. As he was passing one of the bedrooms, he saw the tenant with her back towards him sitting at a computer. She was stark naked with nothing but her headphones on. She caught his reflection in the monitor and jumped up screaming for him to get to the f*@# out!
The poor guy tried to explain that he hadn’t seen any cars out front and knocked on the door before entering. The tenant, still fuming, told him to leave and in the future give proper notice before entering.
It turned out the tenant’s car broke down the night before and was at the mechanic’s shop. And she was able to work from home that day. The headset was so she could listen to a recorded conference call, which kept her from hearing the landlord’s knocks on the door.
Fortunately, the tenant eventually cooled down and overlooked what had happened. But it could have easily turned the other direction. She could have called the police; she could have tried to sue the landlord; or she could have tied to break her lease. Even if the landlord would have escaped legal repercussions, his cost in time and money could have been significant.
States have laws on how much notice you need to give to enter a rental. For example, here in Florida you need to give 12-hours notice to make repairs. In Connecticut it’s “reasonable notice,” whatever that means.
I suggest you become familiar with your State’s law. You can find a source here. It just might save you an embarrassing moment.
And for more tips on managing your rentals, order a copy of What You Must Know BEFORE Becoming a Greedy Landlord today.