What type of legal document do I need in order to search a missing person’s apartment?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What type of legal document do I need in order to search a missing person’s apartment?

A family member of mine was last seen 2 weeks ago and his phone has been shut off for a month. I would like to someone to open his apartment door to check to see if he is alive but the property manager is not being cooperative.

Asked on February 2, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You don't have any right to search his or her apartment unless you had a power of attorney from him or were on the lease. Otherwise, even if you fear he is missing, you cannot legally enter his unit and the landlord or property manager would be violating the law to let you in. The police can go in, if they have legitimate reason to believe someone may be dead or injured in there; you have to let the police handle this (but should stay in contact with them), since you, as a private citizen, have no legal authority.

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