As a landlord, you have a right to enter your property even when it is occupied by a tenant. However, that right has very specific conditions and rules which you must strictly follow as a Washington landlord. Failure to follow these rules will ultimately lead to a violation of your tenant's rights, which may have significant legal and financial ramifications.
Reasons to Enter the Rental Property
As a Washington landlord, there are many reasons you may wish to enter your property, even when that property is occupied by a current tenant. This may include repairing a defect on the property, performing an inspection of the rental premises, or showing the property to a prospective tenant.
Whatever your reasons may be, as a landlord you must follow the rules governing when and how you may enter your occupied rental property.
Notice for Entry
To enter your property which currently has a tenant, you must provide a two-day advanced notice about any intent to enter the rental property, except in the case of an actual emergency. The notice must include the exact time of entry, date of entry or dates of entry, or a set of dates with the earliest and latest possible times of entry listed.
The notice must also state other information, including a telephone number to which the tenant can communicate any objection or a request to reschedule the entry. It is very important that all of these requirements are met to protect your tenant's rights and to avoid the penalties that come from a violation of those rights.
Tenant May Not Unreasonably Withhold Consent
While a tenant may object to your entry on specific dates or at specific times, they may not unreasonably withhold consent to your entry. This is especially true when you need to show the property to new prospective tenants.
If a landlord gives at least one day's notice of intent to enter at a specific time to show the property, a tenant's objection to that entry must be for a reasonable reason. However, a landlord is not allowed to unreasonably interfere with a tenant's enjoyment of the rented dwelling by excessively exhibiting the unit.
If you wish to show a property that has a tenant, you should take the following steps to follow the law.
- Provide a two-day written notice of either a specific date for a showing or a series of dates and times during which a showing might occur.
- When a showing is scheduled, provide at least one day's notice of the specific date and time of the showing to the tenant.
It is always best to openly communicate with your tenant about possible times of entry and to give more notice than the law requires when possible. It is mutually beneficial to your client and you to communicate early and often.
Consult a Washington Eviction/Unlawful Detainer Attorney
Understanding the notice requirements for entry into an occupied dwelling is important and should be followed to the letter.
Experienced eviction attorney Quinn Posner represents clients in Camas, Washougal, Vancouver, and the rest of Clark County. Contact Quinn Posner today to schedule a free consultation.