My rental property has a basement. It is not habitable with low ceiling and narrow/steep stairwell. Hence in my rehab, I have put in a door that I intend to lock and not provide access to tenant. I understand there is no way of enforcing a waiver on the tenant to protect me from liabilities should something happen while accessing basement. Also to note is the water heater which is located in the basement.
As landlord, am I allow to restrict access to basement? I have already noted in rental agreement, but tenant is saying she has right to use basement.
This is a section 8 tenant. Not sure if it makes a difference.
Thanks very much for your advise.
if its in the contract its in the contract. I would send a certified letter saying stay out of there and that they are liable
I have 100+ SEC 8 tenants and we restrict all of them from basements and attics unless the breaker box is in there. We just put a lock on it that has a code different than the house so our master key will open it in the event we need a contractor to get in. We’ve even restricted the use of detached sheds and garages because we didn’t want to have them inspected. It isn’t a problem with any of the 7 housing authorities in our market.
I restrict the basement access in all of my buildings - all C+/B-. The doors are locked. In the lease it says the basement is not accessible to tenants. This creates inconvenience sometimes because the breaker boxes are usually down there. That's okay, because if a tenant is repeatedly overloading a circuit I would like to know that. If they were resetting it themselves constantly I might not ever find out until there is a fire. This also tells me which circuits need to be split.
On the front end it's a bit of work, but I seldom get breaker calls on the properties whose circuits I have attended to.
I sometimes leave a lockbox for a contractor if I need to, or leave it unlocked. (I prefer the former.)
I restrict access to the basement to all my tenants. They don't have any business down there and if they get hurt as it is not finished that is your problem. Avoid access as stated on the lease.