Can a property manager enter my residence after they specifically say they won’t?

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Can a property manager enter my residence after they specifically say they won’t?

I received notification several weeks ago that my routine property inspection would be held on the 17th. It indicated that I did not need to be present, but could be and said to call with any questions. I found out on the 14th that I would not be able to be home on that day and called to ask to reschedule. They informed me that I did not have to be there but if I did not feel comfortable then it could be rescheduled. They told me it was canceled and informed me that no one would be entering the house that day without me there; long story short: they did. Is this legal? What are my options?

Asked on May 17, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

What they did was wrongful, in that they breached their agreement with you; but that doesn't mean you can necessarily do anything about it. The U.S. legal system is designed to compensate for actual injuries or losses; it does not provide monetary compensation simply because there was a breach of an agreement or a violation of rights unless there some injury or loss. If nothing was stolen, broken, etc. when the staff entered your apartment, you did not suffer any loss that would support a lawsuit or legal action.

Also, note that while the landlord did agree to not enter while you were not there, they were not required to do that--they are allowed to enter for an inspection even if the tenant is not available, so long as they have provided reasonable (more than 24 hour) notice and are doing so at a reasonable time of day. Thus, while the landlord breached the agreement to not enter then, they did not violate any fundamental rights, since having provided notice, they could enter that day.


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