A Landlord’s Right of Entry

There’s an old expression that goes: “a person’s home is his castle.” This means that the place where we make our home is private, sacred, and generally shielded from outsiders. When you rent, however, you don’t own the property where you live – you pay for the right to occupy it. This can be a tricky situation for landlords who need access to the property to repair it, inspect it, or access it in the event of an emergency.


Landlords should familiarize themselves with what state law says about a landlord’s right of entry. Knowing your rights – and your tenant’s – under the law can help you avoid disputes and legal clashes.

California Landlord Right of Entry

A landlord’s right of entry is covered by California Civil Code Section 1954. Landlords can enter a tenant’s premises only after giving written notice. If the notice is hand-delivered, the landlord must give 24 hours’ notice. If the notice is mailed, the landlord must mail it at least six days before the scheduled entry. Landlords can enter for the following reasons:


  • In an emergency, such as a fire or carbon monoxide contamination
  • To inspect or repair the unit
  • To show the property to a real estate agent or prospective tenant or buyer


Additionally, the written notice must give the tenant a reasonable date and time range for when the entry will take place. The entry can only take place during normal business hours, which is between 9am and 5pm Monday through Friday, unless the tenant agrees to another time.


When a landlord is trying to sell the property, it’s also acceptable for the landlord to give the tenant 24 hours’ notice of a showing by way of phone call, but only after the landlord has sent the tenant a written notice that the landlord or an agent will be calling to schedule these showings. These types of notices are only good for 120 days. If the property still hasn’t sold after 120 days, the landlord must send a new written notice regarding scheduling showings.

Documentation Is Important

Although the tenant doesn’t have to be present during the landlord’s entry, landlords should document their visits and, if possible, keep notes of the property’s condition and any damage or performed repairs. This documentation is important in the event the tenant claims the landlord damaged the tenant’s personal property or failed to repair a damaged or defective item within the unit.

California Eviction and Real Estate Law

Attorney Kirkman J. Hoffman has more than 20 years’ experience representing commercial and residential landlords, owners, and property managers in Silicon Valley and the surrounding regions. Contact the team at Hoffman Law Group today at (408) 241-9620 to discuss your real estate or eviction matter.


This website has been prepared by Hoffman Law Group, APC for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.