Can I file a lawsuit on my landlord for just entering my apartment with no notice?

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Can I file a lawsuit on my landlord for just entering my apartment with no notice?

My landlord thought we abandoned our apartment. One day they knocked on the door, when I hadn’t answered right away, they just unlocked the door. I was completely naked and they definitely saw. Our neighbors had abandoned theirs but got a note on their door before they entered. Isn’t it law to have to have a notice in order to do that? Would this be a good reason to file a lawsuit against them? I feel traumatized, and very violated.

Asked on September 27, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Sometimes, someone does wrong but there's really nothing to sue about. This is probably one of those times. One the one hand, a landlord should not enter a tenant's apartment without notice, unless there's an emergency. However, if they landlord reasonably thought the apartment was abandoned and did knock first, then even if what he did was technically improper, there's a good chance that he would be found to have not even been negligent (unreasonably careless)--and certainly not that he did anything intentionally wrong. So there's a good chance that while the landlord should not have done this, that he did not incur liability. Even if it were found to be liability, there's no real damages to collect--when there's no physical harm or economic loss, it's almost impossible to collect money or compensation. *Sometimes* you can be compensated for *intentional* or *reckless* infliction of emotional harm--but from what you write, that does not seem to be the case.


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