Can I get out of my lease if the rental company has people coming into my apartment whenever they want without notice?

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Can I get out of my lease if the rental company has people coming into my apartment whenever they want without notice?

I signed a lease agreement 7 months ago but since then the maintenance man has came into my apartment multiple times while I was gone. I’ve come back and my front door was wide open and no one was around. They put up a note that said they were having maintenance come into all the apartments in the building to clean the refrigerator coils, but doesn’t tell me a day or time. Does this give me cause to break my lease agreement?

Asked on February 23, 2017 under Real Estate Law, South Dakota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you potentially can: having someone go into your unit unannounced, without at least 24 hour notice (preferably written) notice for non-emergencies, or more than is necessary for reasonable maintenance is a breach of the "covenant of quiet enjoyment"--your right, implied (or added) to all leases by the law, to use your rental space free from undue disruption or interference.
It would be a good idea to first send you landlord a written notice or letter, sent some way that you can prove delivery, of what has been going on, to put the landlord on notice of what his maintenance staff is doing and giving him a chance to correct it (the law requires that you give your landlord an opportunity to fix problems). Be as specific as you can be in the letter: list dates, times (to the best of your knowledge), whether your received any notice or none at all, when the unit was left unsecured, etc. If after written notice there is still a pattern of such violations, you should be in good shape to terminate the lease.


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