Landlord access to rental units
Landlords can access rental units in certain situations. Tenants should be aware of situations where the landlord will be accessing the unit.
On this page:
- Landlord can access a unit with proper notice
- Situations where landlords can enter rental units without notice
- Locks and tenant access
- Tenant rights and responsibilities
- Landlord responsibilities
- Policy guidelines
- I need help
To access a rental unit landlords must provide tenants with written notice. This notice must be provided at least 24 hours, but not more than 30 days, before entry.
The written notice must state:
- The date of entry
- The time of entry (must be between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.)
- A reason for entry
Landlords must also provide notice for an authorized third party, such as the landlord's agent, to enter on the landlord's behalf. Additionally, landlords may enter any common areas that are shared with others, like hallways or courtyards, without notice.
If the tenant is at home, they can verbally agree to let the landlord inside. However, tenants are not required to do so without written notice.
Landlords must provide a reasonable purpose for entry
The purpose for entering a rental unit must be reasonable. Common reasons include:
- Inspecting the condition of the property
- Completing necessary repairs or maintenance
- Showing the property to prospective buyers or new tenants
The tenant doesn’t need to be present for the landlord to enter as long as proper notice was provided.
A landlord can enter a unit without notice in some situations.
A landlord can enter the rental unit without written notice or permission if there is an emergency and entry is necessary to protect life or property.
Entering with an order
A landlord can enter a rental unit if they have a Residential Tenancy Branch arbitrator's order or a court order.
Abandoned rental units
Landlords can enter the rental unit if it has been abandoned by the tenant.
- Learn more about determining abandonment
Landlords can't lock a tenant out of a rental unit, even during an eviction.
If a landlord locks a tenant out of their rental unit, they can contact:
Learn more about illegal lockouts.
Landlords can't make tenants leave during entry
Tenants have the right to be present or have a representative present when a landlord enters the rental unit. A landlord cannot force tenants to leave when they enter the unit.
Tenants can dispute unlawful access
Landlords must always follow the proper process for entry into a rental unit. If a landlord enters illegally, tenants can take these immediate steps:
- Ask the landlord to leave
- Remind the landlord to follow entry procedures, including providing proper notice
- Document the incident by making note of the date, time and details of the unlawful entry
If the issue continues, tenants can seek dispute resolution. Dispute resolution is a process to help resolve conflicts between landlords and tenants.
Protecting tenants' right to quiet enjoyment
Tenants have a right to quiet enjoyment. This means that they can enjoy the rental unit peacefully without interference. Unlawful landlord access can breach a tenant's right to quiet enjoyment.
Seeking dispute resolution for lock and key changes
After winning a dispute resolution case, tenants may be allowed to change their unit's locks and keep the only keys. However, the tenant must return the keys to the landlord after moving out.
- Learn more about locks and keys during a tenancy
Tenants must allow proper landlord access
When a landlord has given proper notice to enter the rental unit access must be allowed.
Lawful entry helps reduce conflict. Landlords have a duty to ensure they enter a rental unit lawfully by providing written notice before entering and only entering without notice in specific circumstances.
Tenants can be present when a landlord enters a rental unit
Tenants have the right to be present when their landlord enters the rental unit. Landlords can't ask them to leave when the rental unit is being shown.
Landlords must be present when showing the unit
If the landlord is scheduling an entry to the unit to show it to prospective buyers or tenants, the landlord or their agent must be present.
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