What could I do if my landlord’s agent enters my apartment without permission?

UPDATED: Feb 16, 2012

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What could I do if my landlord’s agent enters my apartment without permission?

My landlord’s agent (a security guard) took my son home. When my son tried to close the front door, the security guard entered. My son came into our bedroom and told us security guard was in apartment. My wife then went out there and told him to leave. He ignored her. We had to move because we couldn’t live in that kind of atmosphere. Can we go after security guard for civil trespass? What about management co-owners? What type of attorney handles this? I did notify management about this and I got a letter back saying the security guard did not enter our apartment. This security guard lied.

Asked on February 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Nevada


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, if you have moved and broken your lease, you have probably done so unlawfully, and could be held liable for the rent for the remaining months under the lease.

You are correct that the landlord, or its employees, agents, etc., may not enter your rental premises without permission or prior notice, except, of course, for an emergency. However, a one-time entry, especially where there was no actual harm or injury done (no one injured or assaulted; nothing stolen or broken; etc.) would not justify your termination of the lease. A lease is a contract; like other contracts, it many only  be terminated without penalty for the material violation of it by the other party. "Material" in leases means going to the core of the lease--possession of a usable apartment. It is highly unlikely that any court would find that a single unwarranted entry by a security guard is a material or core violation of the lease, and so it is very likely that if the landlord sues you for rent due, that the landlord would win.

You could try to sue the guard for trespass, but again, the lack of injury defeats the purpose of doing this; the courts only provide compensation for actual losses, damage or injury. So while the guard may have trespassed, without some injury or loss from that, it likely you could only recover a de minimis amount at best.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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