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Can Wellington Property Owners Be Charged with Trespassing on Their Own Rental Property?

Wellington Woman Inviting Her Landlord Inside the HouseBecause you are a landlord, you will be responsible for maintenance on your property. As soon as you have renters in your investment property, though, you need to inform your renters through an advanced notice prior to anybody coming into the property. Your property becomes the renter’s home once you turn over the keys. In other words, just because you have a rental property in Wellington doesn’t mean you can interrupt the lives of your residents without proper notification. Even though you merely plan to change a furnace filter, any unannounced entry could result in your resident levying charges of criminal trespassing.

Definitions of “reasonable notice” vary with state law, so refresh on the legality of your entry as a landlord. Outline the terms for notice to be given before entry in the lease so you don’t violate your renter’s privacy. For instance, twenty-four hours is the maximum typical notice requirement for somebody other than the tenant or their guests to access the property, whether the resident is home or not. Other locations further restrict entry to times of the day and days of the week, so double check your knowledge and follow the laws in your area while you’re on the subject. It may look as if it’s just a slight adherence, but considering the alternative, it’s well meriting the delay.

Exemptions to this may incorporate emergency repairs or safety issues, such as faulty wiring that poses a fire hazard, burst pipes leaking into another unit, or broken windows and doors that could influence a comfortable temperature or attract criminal movement. As a landlord, you must maintain the residence “habitable,” so your legal obligation may trump the obligation to notify residents of entry. Failure to direct emergency repairs within the time frame stipulated by your state law could constitute neglect.

You and your tenants have to make sure that the property is at par with the local building or housing codes. If a lack of maintenance or a renter’s extended absence is affecting heat or ventilation, or broken fixtures are preventing the adequate provision of water or electricity, then as the landlord, you could face penalties for violating standards of living. If your tenants are not upholding the sanitation and structure of your property, seek out legal counsel with regard to whether you have a reasonable right to enter the premises to do repairs.

Another exception to criminal trespassing is implied permission. This would include whether your renter requested repairs or maintenance, which would show that they anticipated and agreed to your entry of the premises. Unless it is explicitly stated in the lease that notice should be provided for all repairs, you may be covered from a liability standpoint. Keep documentation of all maintenance requests to avoid the risk of a lawsuit.

Ultimately, you must respect your renter’s possessory rights. It may be your house, but it’s their home. Your property ownership does not give you the authorization to drop by without notice. You must submit proper notification of future entry. Illegal entry can result in fines up to several hundred dollars, or even jail time, depending on your state.

Real Property Management of the Rockies not only provisions for proper notice and communication with the tenants for routine maintenance, repairs, and property evaluations, we also keep you in the loop concerning all aspects of your rental property. For more information on how we can make your life manageable, contact us, or call us at 970-658-0410.

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