When can a landlord enter a property

8 Replies

Just took over being landlord of a single property I rent out. I've had the same tenant for 4+ years and had to let the PM go because he kept doing things like losing her rent check. I called her today to introduce my self. I asked if there were any current issues and she brought up that the light/fan in the living room doesn't work at all. My question is how do I go about entering the property to take a look at it? Can I just call and give her a 24 hour notice or does it need to be a written notice? 



Take a look at your landlord tenant law in SC, and it will outline the hours and or days for maintenance and entering the property. It is typically about 24 hours. I always like someone to be there on the premises to let me in over the age of 18. Take before and after photos for documentation with receipts on file for that work order

The tenant can give you permission to enter their dwelling at any time and you can do so. Or you can serve legal notice to enter in accordance with the landlord-tenant laws for your jurisdiction and enter at a time of your choosing.

We rarely need to serve a notice to enter, because our tenants generally want us to do maintenance and repair as necessary and invite us in. I'd just ask your tenant... "When would be a good time for me to check out the light/fan in the living room?" Agree upon a time that works for both of you. Could be in an hour, could be next week.

Just call her back or email her if you have an email address and either ask her when is a good time to come over or tell her your available with a few time slots and ask her to pick from your available time slots. It would be best to go when she is there for the first time at least to develop a rapport with her and to find out if anything else is an issue.

Also check your lease to see if there is a clause about how much notice is required. Our lease gives the tenant 48 hours notice unless it is an emergency.

South Carolina requires 24 hours notice and entry during reasonable times.

If you are going to be a successful Landlord, you need to know your laws and be prepared for the inevitable problems. Here's a good link to get you started: South Carolina Landlord Tenant Laws

Thanks everyone!

I largely depends on your lease. mine says 24 hour notice except in the case of an emergency. I always coordinate with my tenants so I or my repairman can show up while their home. I prefer not to enter when their not home in case someone was to say something went missing. If some one did enter while they were not home I would try and have 2 people present so there was a witness as to what work was done.

Usually if you treat your tenants with respect they will act like wise towards you.

@Andrew Junquet It is definitely best practice to have everything in writing.  At the end of the day it will be your word vs. theirs in the worst case scenario, if you do not document anything and everything.  See below for the exerpt regarding landlord access from the SC Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.

SECTION 27-40-530. Access.

(a) A tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter into the dwelling unit in order to inspect the premises, make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations, or improvements, supply necessary or agreed services, or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workmen, or contractors.

(b) A landlord or his agent may enter the dwelling unit without consent of the tenant:

(1) At any time in case of emergency-prospective changes in weather conditions which pose a likelihood of danger to the property may be considered an emergency;

(2) Between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. for the purpose of providing regularly scheduled periodic services such as changing furnace and air-conditioning filters, providing termite, insect, or pest treatment, and the like, provided that the right to enter to provide regularly scheduled periodic services is conspicuously set forth in writing in the rental agreement and that prior to entering, the landlord announces his intent to enter to perform services; or

(3) Between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. for the purpose of providing services requested by the tenant and that prior to entering, the landlord announces his intent to enter to perform services.

(c) A landlord shall not abuse the right of access or use it to harass the tenant. Except in cases under item (b) above, the landlord shall give the tenant at least twenty-four hours notice of his intent to enter and may enter only at reasonable times.

(d) A landlord has no other right of access except:

(1) pursuant to court order;

(2) as permitted by Sections 27-40-720 and 27-40-730;

(3) when accompanied by a law enforcement officer at reasonable times for the purpose of service of process in ejectment proceedings; or

(4) unless the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises.

(e) A tenant shall not change locks on the dwelling unit without the permission of the landlord.

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