Is there anything I can do about my landlord entering without notice or permission?

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Is there anything I can do about my landlord entering without notice or permission?

Our landlord has been entering apartments at random, even when we aren’t around, taking notes of our belongings and threatened to padlock the door and sell the items inside. There are people willing to testify to that fact, as he took other tenants with him as he entered the apartments. We’ve never been late on our rent. We are currently month-to-month as we wait for the things on house closing to go through. We haven’t given a notice of intent to vacate yet. What recourse do we have for this activity that won’t end up with us getting evicted?

Asked on October 20, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Landlords only have limited rights to enter a tenant's apartment: with reasonable (usually 24) hour notice for repairs, to show to new prospective tenants, for pest control, etc.; or without notice for a bona fide emergency (e.g. large leak, fire). They can't come in other than that; the tenant has  possession of the apartment and entering at will violates tenants possession. The landlord may not sell your belongings--that's theft--or lock the door on you--that's unlawful eviction. (All evictions MUST be through the court system.) You can ask (and should send written notice, too, in some way you can prove delivery) that the landlord not enter again without notice to you; if he won't, you *could* go to court for an order preventing him from doing so, but need to weigh how much longer you expect to be there and put up with this vs. the cost, headache, etc. of going to court and getting into a "fight" with your landlord.


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