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Tenant Rights vs. Landlord Access: Trespassing Concerns for Property Owners

Ellsworth Woman Inviting Her Landlord Inside the House

As a rental property owner, you have the legal right to access your property for maintenance, repairs, inspections, or showing the property to prospective tenants or buyers, if you follow the applicable laws and lease agreements. Give your tenants advance notice, respect their privacy, and be open about your intentions when entering the property. You can maintain a smooth relationship with your tenants and fulfill your obligations as a landlord by adhering to these guidelines.

It’s important to keep in mind that even if you own the property, you could face trespassing charges in certain instances. Examples of these situations include:

  1. Lease Agreement Violations: If your lease agreement with the renter includes terms for access to the property and you break those terms, you may face trespassing charges. For example, the tenant may consider it a breach of contract if you enter the property without proper notice or for a legitimate reason specified in the lease.
  2. Tenant’s Rights Violations: Tenants have the right to enjoy their rental property in peace and quiet, which means they have the right to privacy and exclusive use of the premises during the lease term. It could result in legal issues, including trespassing charges, if you enter the property without notice, disrupt the tenant’s peaceful enjoyment, or harass the tenant.
  3. Lockouts and Unlawful Eviction: Attempting to physically remove a tenant from the property without first following proper legal eviction procedures can result in trespassing charges. Without a court order, locking a tenant out of their rental unit is usually illegal.
  4. Criminal Intent: If you enter the property to steal, damage, or participate in any unlawful conduct, you can be charged with trespassing just like any other unauthorized person.
  5. Local Laws and Regulations: Laws regarding landlord-tenant relationships and property access can vary from one jurisdiction to another. Local regulations may impose specific requirements on landlords, and failure to adhere to these regulations could result in trespassing charges.

Avoid Potential Trespassing Charges

It’s necessary to familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations governing landlord-tenant relationships in your area, respect your tenant’s rights, and always follow the lease agreement terms. Additionally, providing proper notice to tenants before entering the property for legitimate reasons, such as maintenance or inspections, is crucial to avoid disputes and legal issues. 

Ultimately, you should respect your renter’s possessory rights. It is your residence, but also theirs. Under your property ownership, you are not allowed to enter without notice or good reason. A proper notification of upcoming entry is required. State by state, illegal entry may result in fines of several hundred dollars or even imprisonment.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your rights and responsibilities as a landlord, you should consult with an expert in real estate and landlord-tenant law.

Real Property Management Acadia provides proper notice and communication to our tenants for routine maintenance, repairs, and property evaluations; we also keep you informed regarding your rental property. Everything is completed quickly and effectively, adhering strictly to property law. Contact us or dial 207-561-7482 to learn more about how we can assist you in Ellsworth and the surrounding area.

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