What rights does a minister have concerning church officials entering the church-owned parsonage when the minister isn’t home?

UPDATED: Aug 26, 2011

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What rights does a minister have concerning church officials entering the church-owned parsonage when the minister isn’t home?

A minister who is being forced out of her preaching position by certain church members needs to know her rights concerning the church board president wanting to enter the church parsonage when she is not there in a non-emergency situation.

Asked on August 26, 2011 Illinois


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If there is a written lease between the parish and the minister for his or her occupation of the church owned parsonage, you need to read its terms carefully in that its terms control the obligations owed the minster by the parish and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law concerning entry into the parsonage by people who are not its occupants.

If there is no written lease or document signed by the minister on the subject, in all likelihood your state has a statute allowing a landlord to enter a rental occupied by a tenant upon the giving of reasonable notice to the tenant in a non-emergency situation. In California, reasonable notice is usually at least twenty-four (24) hour notice to the tenant. Notice is typically accomplished by way of a telephone call, letter or e mail to the tenant.

Good luck.

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