Can my landlord authorize opening my door without entering, to inspect for odors with no notice?

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Can my landlord authorize opening my door without entering, to inspect for odors with no notice?

Maintenance in my complex was searching for an odor because someone complained. While I wasn’t home, he knocked on my door, without any answer of course. He then called the landlord, and the landlord authorized him to open the door. He did not “enter” my apartment, he only looked and smelled for an odor. This was given without any prior notice. Is this a violation?

Asked on June 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If there was reason to believe that the odor potentially represented an "emergen cy"--e.g. that it could have either represented rotting food, mold, or a gas leak which threatened others' health or safety; or that it could have been symptomatic or evidence of someone being sick or injured (and unable to respond)--then the landlord could him/herself inspect the apartment, or allow his/her staff or contractors in, even without prior notice of the inspection. So the issue is whether, under the circumstances, it was reasonable to think this was an emergency or urgent situation or not; if not, the landlord could not enter without prior notice or consent.


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