In one word, no. Your landlord cannot just sashay into your apartment while you’re in the shower or in bed without making an appointment with you first. Massachusetts general laws require a landlord to allow a tenant the “quiet enjoyment” of his or her rented home. Obstructions to your quiet enjoyment include the right to privacy without being bothered by unannounced landlord visits.
When is a Landlord Allowed to Enter the Premises?
Massachusetts law allows the landlord to enter your premises at reasonable times and under reasonable notice under the following conditions:
- To show the apartment to prospective tenants, purchasers, lenders or their agents;
- To inspect the premises;
- To make repairs;
- To inspect within 30 days of the end of the tenancy to determine damages to be deducted from the security deposit;
- If the premises appear to be abandoned; or
- Pursuant to a Court order.
Let’s say your landlord calls you at 9 am and tells you they need to visit the apartment to inspect and repair a broken pipe you reported. You work late nights and sleep until noon and do not want to have to deal with this. What do you do? According to the law detailed above, you have to give them permission to enter the premises and repair the pipe. If you don’t, the landlord would be well within his or her rights to take you to court.
What is Reasonable Notice?
The most common landlord and tenant dispute that comes up is the definition of “reasonable notice.” In some states reasonable notice is defined as 24 hours; in others, a landlord is required to give at least 12 hours notice. However, Massachusetts law does not define this and it is up to the tenant and landlord to decide this when they sign the lease or agreement.
Before you rent an apartment or home, you must go through your lease carefully and make sure the landlord has not added any clauses that are against the law. For example, the landlord is not allowed to add any other reasons for entering the premises apart from the ones listed above. If he or she does, it is wrong and against the law and you should discuss this before signing that dotted line.
The relationship between a tenant and landlord is very important in making your tenancy peaceful and problem-free. There is nothing that can’t be handled by discussing it amicably and politely. Unless you have a particularly unreasonable landlord, you will find that talking to them and discussing the best time for them to visit will prove quite helpful. The landlord knows you can take them to court for disturbing them unnecessarily, and no one wants to go to court. Landlords will usually respect your privacy and cooperate with you but this does not allow you to take advantage.
A tenant must allow the landlord to enter the premises for the purposes listed above. A tenant who refuses to do so or is unreasonable can be taken to court and must face the consequences.
The best way to avoid any disputes and unpleasantness is to read your lease or agreement carefully before you sign and discuss any issues you might have with the landlord. During your tenancy, be nice, polite and above board in all your dealings and you will never have any issues with a landlord.
For any assistance or advice about your tenancy in Boston, please contact BBA Management at 617-734-6900 or email@example.com.