What can I do about maintenance men entering my house without notice or my consent?

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What can I do about maintenance men entering my house without notice or my consent?

I am a single mother and I currently live in low income housing. The maintenance men that work here all have keys to my house and randomly show up twice a month to change the filter for the heater, they quickly knock 3 times and if I haven’t gotten to the door by then, they use their key to enter. I complained to the manager and she told me they just call it a standing work order so they can enter at any time. They are breaking the lease I signed by doing this and I know what they’re doing is not legal but what can I do about it?

Asked on January 13, 2012 under Real Estate Law, West Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It doesn't matter what they call it--they can't do this.

They *can* come in twice a month, if that is a legitimate maintenance need of the unit or building, but they can't do it without notice. Unless it's an emergency (e.g. fire, significant leak, electric short, etc.), entry for maintenance, even regular or "standing" maintenance requires reasonable notice, which is usually taken to mean 24 hours written notice.

To enforce your rights, you'd have to take legal action, which, however, may not be worth doing--not only would you have the cost, but it would damage your relationship with your landlord.


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