Can our landlord tell us that we have to vacate the premises during an inspection?

UPDATED: Mar 7, 2012

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Can our landlord tell us that we have to vacate the premises during an inspection?

My landlord of our duplex has asked that we vacate the premises during an alleged appraisal of the home. However, we are almost entirely certain that she is just sending her friend in to take pictures of the inside of the home. Our landlord has instructed us that she doesn’t want us here even when her friend arrives and after she leaves. We have expressed our discomfort with having a complete stranger in our home without us there. We have two very young children so, aside from protecting our things, we feel this is a measure to protect our children. Can she legally ask us to do this?

Asked on March 7, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, the landlord may not make you leave during the inspection unless there is a lease providing for this (i.e. if you signed a lease saying you'd leave for inspections, that is enforceable). Otherwise, while the landlord has a right to inspect, on reasonable notice (generally 24 hours) at reasonable times (typically during the workday or such other time as a tenant agrees), the landlord has no right to force the tenant to leave--the tenant is paying for possession of the  premises, after all. The landlord is welcome to offer you something to leave--for example, a $50 movie gift certificate, so you can take your children--but it would be up to you to accept or not.

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