Landlord access to show unit to potential new tenant

6 Replies

Hi All - This is my very first post to Bigger Pockets.  Here goes...

I have a small multifamily apartment building in Hagerstown, MD and in one unit I have a very uncooperative tenant.  Over the last year, she has caused all kinds of trouble.  Luckily, she is moving out at the end of her lease in February.  However, she is "refusing" to allow me to show the property to a potential tenant when she is not there and is threatening to notify the police if I attempt to show her unit.  Because of her temperament, I actually prefer that she not be there.  Below is what is stated in her lease:

SECTION 14: LANDLORD ACCESS

Landlord and Landlord’s agents shall have the right to enter upon the Premises at all reasonable times, with reasonable notice, for the purpose of inspection or making any repairs which Landlord may be required to make by reason of other provisions of this Lease or by reason of the requirements of public authorities. For a period of ninety (90) days prior to the expiration of the term of this Lease or any renewal thereof, Landlord shall have the right, at reasonable times, to show prospective tenants or purchasers the Premises and to post “For Sale” or “For Rent” signs thereon, if not prohibited by law, with reasonable notice to the Tenant. Except in an emergency, we shall give you at least one (1) day notice before we enter the Premises, and shall not enter the Premises unless you are present or you have consented to our entry, which consents shall not be unreasonably withheld.

My question is, do I actually have the right to show the apartment when she is not there?  Seems to me she is unreasonably withholding consent.  What do you all think?

Thanks in advance.

@Garrett Pressick , welcome to BP. I don't know MD law but it seems fairly certain that you have the right to enter to show the unit with proper notice. Do you really want to? If she is there and is uncooperative is that going to help you rent the unit? If she isn't there do you want to risk her claiming her Rolex is missing? You may be better off waiting until she is gone to show the unit.

I suggest you wait it out..have appointments scheduled for the dates after she moves out, make a deal, pro rate what's left of the month and move on..If she's been uncooperative, and has been giving you issues for a year, it's safe to say something will go wrong if you push it..

@Garrett Pressick, welcome to bp! I live in Md and invest in hagerstown as well. I would definitely wait this one out. It sounds like this situation could escalate quickly. Get the tenant out asap and screen the new tenants like crazy!

@Garrett Pressick - Check state laws, but I'm fairly certain that @Jeff Rabinowitz is right about having the right to enter with reasonable cause. 

Before asking to show the unit during her tenancy, I would check the condition of the unit. You can ask for an initial move-out inspection (reasonable right to enter the property), and just check around the unit. You may find that the property isn't in the best shape anyways, and that you'd prefer her to be gone before showing the unit. 

@Garrett Pressick hey @Jeff Rabinowitz drilled this questions. Mic Drop.

I would be mad, but I would wait.

While you're waiting, I suggest:

1 - Focus your anger towards your upcoming tenant screening. Let your incoming tenant be the most screened person ever.

2 - Consider, in the future, how you might pay a departing tenant to clean before a showing and give them a bonus if you lease up before they move out. A little money goes a long way during this phase of the tenant cycle.

Best to you