What are a landlord’s rights to inspect a rental premises?

I am renting a house through an agency and have been here for 10 months. About 2 months ago, the owners of the house started stopping by unannounced to take pictures and complain about the yard. I notified the rental office and the visits stopped. They have now started mailing nasty letters and claiming that I have only paid partial rent. They have told me they will need to come inside for an inspection before my lease is up. Isn’t this something the rental agency should handle? I have not had any problems until they started coming over. I feel very much like this is a racial issue. What can I do?

Asked on September 2, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A landlord is allowed to inspect rental property, on reasonable notice (generally held to be at least 24 hours), at reasonable times, and a reasonable number of times. The landlord also clearly could view or take pictures of common areas or the outside of the premises.

If you feel that you are being discriminated against on racial basis--such as by being harassed by repeated inspection requests or inspectins without proper notice or at improper times; enduring frequent complaints; being accused of not paying all your rent when in fact you did; etc.--you should contact your state's civil or equal rights agency; racial discrimination in housing is illegal.


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