Is it legal for my landlord to enter my locked backyard without my knowledge?

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Is it legal for my landlord to enter my locked backyard without my knowledge?

Multiple times this has happened in 2 years. This was his family home, he tries to come inside almost every month to “inspect”, generally gives notice each month to do yard work in the front of our rental home and asks us if he can see the back or inside and acts offended if we decline (generally about 8 am and we have a 3 year old special needs daughter we try to let sleep in on Saturdays). Recently, he sent 7 passive aggressive emails about our “untidy” backyard (surrounded by 6 ft cinder block wall) due to a few weeds, dirty door, stating it’s property damage if our dog digs a hole in the dirt, capers need shampooed every 6 months, etc.

Asked on June 30, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, your landlord may *not* enter your leased space without proper notice, for a legitimate reason (and periodic inspections are legitimate, but if they are too frequent as to not serve a valid purpose, they lose that legitimacy) or for an emergency (e.g. gas or water leak, fire, etc.) You pay for possession of--i.e. not just for use of, but also the right to control access to--your leased space, and if the landlord does not respect that, he is breaching the lease and also your right, as tenants, to the "quiet enjoyment" of your space (the right to use it free from undo disruption or intrusion). The problem is there really is no good, cost-effective way to enforce this right against your landlord: doing so involves litigation (going to court), which has it own monetary and other costs, even if you win. In my experience as a landlord-tenant attorney, when a landlord-tenant relationship turns or becomes persistently toxic or frustrating, it is best to start looking to move.


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