Can a tenant refuse access to a condo that is up for sale?

UPDATED: Jul 28, 2010

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Can a tenant refuse access to a condo that is up for sale?

We are selling our condo which we have been renting for the last year. The tenant has made it difficult to show to prospective buyers. We served her a notice that we considered fair, by saying that the place would be shown Mondays and Fridays and Saturdays. This for two hours on each of the days. We also asked that she not have her dog inside, during these times. One realtor would not enter with clients because of the barking dog. The tenant is going to be out of town for 1 week. We asked that she find a place for the dog, because we would like to show the house during the week that she is going to be gone. She is refusing to allow us access to the property. Is it within her rights to do so? We want to utilize the time so that we are less disruptive to the tennant. And not be obstructed in our attempts to to sell the property. The tenant has, in the past stated that she, as a tenant is guaranteed the right to live a life of “quiet enjoyment”, while renting. We understand this, but we have to make the sacrifice or risk financial ruin because of the second property.

Asked on July 28, 2010 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

The tenant does not have a right to exclude you, if you provide adequate notice AND do not make excessive requests. However, if you are showing the property 3 times a week, for multiple weeks, that is almost certainly excessive--especially if you are trying to block out two hours each day. Also, if you rented to a tenant with a dog, you need to accomodate the dog--you cannot require her to place the dog elsewhere.

Have you tried making it worth the tenant's while? For example, you could pay for the cost of boarding the dog; or offer her some rent rebate in exchange for cooperation. (e.g. you want the option of showing 6 hours per week, or 24 hours per month. That is equal to 2 days. You could offer he days, or 1/15, off on her rent; maybe even 3 - 4 days off to make it more interesting.)

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