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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 33708
Experience:  Attorney for over 15 years, landlord 26 years
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I do hope that you can help me. I really need your legal

Customer Question

Hello,
I do hope that you can help me. I really need your legal expertise and guidance.
My location is in the state of California. My husband and I are currently renting (leasing) house that we are preparing to move out of by mid-December 2016. The real estate agent (a woman), who is also the Property Manager/Landlord (PM) and representative of the Owner (a man), is the individual that we mostly deal with regarding matters relating to the house.
On October 10th, 2016, the PM emailed me essentially the following message:
"The attached document states the Owner's agreement to continue on a Month to Month Tenancy, and effective November 15th, the rent will be [RENT AMOUNT +$100] per month. I will also mail this to you."
__________________________________________________________
On October 25th, 2016, we received an email from the PM, with primarily the following message:
"What are your intentions at this time?  Did you get accepted for the place in [CITY]?  The Owners are thinking about giving you notice to vacate on December 1st so that they can move into the home themselves."
______________________________________________________________________
On the same day, October 25th, 2016, we replied to the PM with primarily the following message:
"We intend to vacate the house on Dec 15. FYI, we did not get that unit. It was too late."
______________________________________________________________________
Later that same evening, on October 25th, 2016, the PM emailed her reply in which she stated:
"I spoke with the Owners again, and Good News is that December 15th will be okay. Please put this in writing and drop it off in my Real Estate mailbox tomorrow.  I just need a simple letter that has the address of [OUR ADDRESS], and state that you intend to move out on December 15, 2016, and both of you need to sign it. That is all. Please do this tomorrow.
Thank you."
_______________________________________________________________________
Next, on November 10th, 2016, the PM contacted me again via email with the following message (in which she requested permission to meet a painter at the house):
"I would like to meet a Painter at the house on Wednesday, November 16th, between 1:00 - 1:30. Will one of you be home that day?"
______________________________________________________________________
We replied to the PM via email with essentially the following message:
"Please come after the house is vacated. Thank you in advance."
______________________________________________________________________
In my email reply, I declined to give her permission (this was because we were both in the middle of packing and preparing for a move and we did not wish to be disturbed at this time). I told the PM that I would appreciate it if she would bring the painter after we had vacated the rental unit (house). She did not reply to that email.
That is, until today, Saturday, November 26th, 2016, when she (the PM) contacted me again and this time left me a voicemail message in which she informed me that they had placed the property on the rental market. In the same voicemail, she requested my permission to bring a prospective tenant to see the inside of the house either tomorrow, Sunday afternoon (November 27th, 2016) or on Monday evening (November 28th, 2016). Both of these times are outside of normal business hours, as well.
(The Owner, she were told in her voicemail message, had changed his mind about moving in to the house himself, and instead decided to rent it out to another tenant--at least, that is what we were told by the PM. For all we know, however, these attempts to "get in" could simply be attempts on the part of the Owner and/or PM to get inside to see the state of the house before we vacate it. This does not really matter, however.)
What matters to us is the following:
We do **not** wish to allow the PM and/or Owner (or anyone representing them in any way) to enter the house before we are ready and have moved our personal possession out of it.
The earliest date that we would be agreeable to allowing the PM to enter the unit (to show it to anyone, or for any other purpose really) would be December 15th, 2016, because the rental agree/lease (that we negotiated an extension of time for, for an additional month) expires on December 14th, 2016. The original expiration date of the lease was November 14th, 2016.
My QUESTIONS for you are the following:
1) Does the PM have the legal right to enter the property without our permission, prior to the date by which we are supposed to vacate the unit?
(Please note: The agreement to extend our lease by one month was made through email correspondence, and no lease was signed for the additional month.)
2) Do we, as tenants, have the legal right to refuse entry to the PM for any reason that the PM gives us (other than an emergency, that is), even when we are given a 24 hour notice to enter?
If I can think of any further questions, I will pose them here.
Thank you.
Submitted: 6 days ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Bill Attorney replied 6 days ago.

This is attorney Bill assisting you today. There may be a slight delay between your questions and my feedback. Please allow me the time to consider the law to give you an accurate answer.

Also, I'm working for positive ratings so I would ask you to either rate GOOD or BETTER before exiting so that I get a credit.

Under California civil code and nothwithstanding what is stated in the lease the landlord can only enter and disrupt a tenant in a limited number of circumstances.

These are outlined in law , breach of which leaves the landlord open to prosecution in civil court.

Under Civil Code 1954 [see below], the landlord may enter your unit without your permission ONLY:
(1) in an emergency, like a fire or broken pipe, or
(2) upon reasonable advance notice, and then ONLY:
(A) to inspect, repair, or show the apartment,
(B) during normal business hours [presumably Mon.-Fri. 8AM-6PM]
(C) 24 hours is presumed to be sufficient notice
(D) You do not have to be home when they come, but the landlord is liable for anything stolen or broken.
(D) The notice must identify a date and reasonable time range [like an hour] within which the entry will occur
(E) The notice MUST be written [not oral or e-mail], except if a WRITTEN notice that realtors will be showing the property is given, for the next 120 days only an oral telephonic 24 hour notice is required [business hour limit still applies]
(G) The right of entry can't be "abused", so that an open house, lock box, extended repair, daily entry, or excessive range of entry time are probably all "abuses" which you have the legal right to prevent.

Hence these rights are clearly outlined in law.

Your right to refuse is guaranteed if not mentioned in the above quoted statute as a valid ground.

A month to month tenancy gives you the same protections in law in relation to illegal entry by a landlord and the change of your tenancy into this type does not effect your answer.

Please follow up with me if you need more information.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO RATE GOOD TO GREAT BEFORE EXITING

Attorney Bill

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
The voicemail message (left by the PM when she called us on Saturday, November 26th, 2016, stated the following:"I'm calling to see if I could possibly show the house. Since you are going to be moving out, I have the property advertised so I can obtain new tenants. Originally, the owners were thinking of moving back in, but they weren't sure what they were going to do, so actually it's back on the market for rent. I have two ladies that want to see the house on Monday evening. So Monday at about 7 pm, if that would work, that would be great. So if that doesn't work, I could do it on Sunday afternoon."
_______________________________________________________________________________We have not yet replied to the last message above, and would like to obtain information and guidance from you first, before proceeding in this matter.
Expert:  Bill Attorney replied 6 days ago.

You can refuse to oblige the landlord as the times of showing are outside business hours; it is entirely at your discretion.

To Show an apartment and then only:

(B) during normal business hours [presumably Mon.-Fri. 8AM-6PM]

You must make some time available for him to show Mon-Friday 8-6pm

ATtorney Bill

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Is there any way to prevent them from entering the house at all, until after we completely vacate the property on December 14th?
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Are there any "reasons" that you could think of (or may have learned of from your past experiences with other tenant cases) that we could possibly give the PM...to keep them from disturbing us during this very hectic time when we are preparing for a big move and working at our jobs at the same time? We would NOT want the PM to enter the house when we are not present also. That means that we would need to try to squeeze it into our already extremely busy schedule.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Please let us know if you can think of any reasons that are valid or good enough to keep them out until after we have moved our things out of the house.
Expert:  Bill Attorney replied 6 days ago.

(E) The notice MUST be written [not oral or e-mail], except if a WRITTEN notice that realtors will be showing the property is given, for the next 120 days only an oral telephonic 24 hour notice is required [business hour limit still applies]

If you never received written notice of the landlords intention to rent out the property you don't need to reply to the voicemail or allow entry.

If you believe his actions are solely carried out to harass you that would also be a ground to refuse entry but would be less clear cut.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO RATE POSITIVELY

I'm here for your follow ups

ATtorney Bill

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
We never received WRITTEN notice of PM's intention to rent out the property. However, you should be aware that the correspondence we have had with the PM over the past several years has almost always been through email or voicemail messages or direct phone communication.The first time the PM revealed her intention to rent out the property was on Saturday, November 26th, 2016, and that was in her VOICEMAIL message only.IF as you mentioned, we **don't** reply to the voicemail (since we are not required to by law, since it is not a WRITTEN notice of intent to enter the property), what happens then and what can the PM do at that point? What if she tries to just "come over" with the prospective tenants...without our even having replied??
Expert:  Bill Attorney replied 6 days ago.

You can sue her for trespass and invasion of privacy and demand damages for breach of the law in the Civil court.

She cannot violate your possession rights.

Attorney Bill

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
What is your suggestion for how best to "buy time" in order to schedule a day for her to show the property but at the latest possible date?
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
We will be working at our jobs all day (and unavailable to be home) on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. IF there is no other option but to allow the PM to enter the property to show the house during BUSINESS HOURS, then we would be willing to do it on Friday of this week. We do not wish to show it on either Sunday (part of holiday weekend, and outside of normal business hours) or on Monday evening (also outside of normal business hours) or on Tuesday either, as the house is full of our things and boxes everywhere due to our being in the middle of packing and preparing to move out soon. It really is an inconvenience for us. Is there no way for us to FORCE her to WAIT until AFTER we have completely moved out?
Expert:  Bill Attorney replied 6 days ago.

This is entirely your decision as you are not mandated in law to facilitate her.

This will depend on your schedule alone.

The law is not clear cut even when the landlord provides written notice as to what is reasonable provision by a tenant.

Hence, because you have indicated that you are son busy, you could argue that reasonable provision of time could be made.

If you can make time to facilitate the landlord, I do recommend tenants to do that to avoid any possible legal implications, even if unlikely.

Attorney Bill

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
What is "entirely my decision"...?
Expert:  Bill Attorney replied 6 days ago.

Because no written notice has been given, it's your decision if you want to facilitate a a house showing.

Attorney Bill

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Can you be specific as to exactly what you meant by what is "entirely my decision?"
Were you referring to **the time** that I arrange to allow her entry or whether I have to allow her entry at all, before I move out? Once again, I would MUCH prefer to NOT have to allow entry of any kind prior to moving out COMPLETELY.
Expert:  Bill Attorney replied 6 days ago.

To be clear.

You don't have to allow any entry.

Because no written notice was given.

Attorney Bill

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
what are possible scenarios of what "could" happen...if we simply do not respond to the voicemail?I clicked the "Call" button by mistake. Do not call me, please!
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
I prefer typed correspondence that I can read and refer to as may be needed later.
Expert:  Bill Attorney replied 6 days ago.

I mentioned previously if there is an entry to the apartment without your consent, you can sue in civil court.

I presume she may write or phone you again.

Attorney Bill

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
But we ARE required to allow entry if she provides WRITTEN notice at least 24 hours in advance of the time she wishes to enter, correct? I want to make sure I understand this correctly.
Expert:  Bill Attorney replied 6 days ago.

I already answered this question if you go throgh some of the feedback again.

I wrote, even if written notice is given, you may still deny access as being unreasonable in the circumstances.

I wrote previously, it is less clear cut.

I wrote that I recommend that tenants do make some reasonable provision for landlords once written notice has been given.

Attorney Bill

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
IF so, then Friday this week during normal business hours would be the absolute earliest that we would consider allowing entry to the house.However, we could request that she wait to show the house after we move out, can't we? I thought that most PMs or LLs would wait (to show the unit) until after a tenant has vacated IF that is the tenant's wish.
Expert:  Bill Attorney replied 6 days ago.

Well I think I answered this question.

I cannot recommend particular days and times as this is your decision.

Your actions by denying entry without written notice seem reasonable.

Attorney Bill

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
What about "an invasion of our privacy" - is that "reasonable" as well? After all, our personal possessions are currently scattered all over the house as we are in the midst of sorting and packing them. Boxes are everywhere too. We do not want this invasion of privacy.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
We do not want strangers to come into the house under these circumstances, as we would feel that their doing so would be an invasion of our privacy during this time of preparation to move.
Expert:  Bill Attorney replied 6 days ago.

Well I've outlined the law as is required by this site.

IF she enters the property without your consent that will be an invasion of privacy.

Not answering your phone does not equate to consent.

So if she enters you can sue in civil court.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO RATE POSITIVELY

Attorney Bill

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Would it be "reasonable" to consider this an invasion of our privacy? Because that is really what it comes down to.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
No, I don't mean if she comes in when we are away from home. I mean just in general, would it be "reasonable" to consider this an invasion of our privacy?
Expert:  Bill Attorney replied 6 days ago.

Please read my previous answers.

If you give consent it is not an invasion of privacy; if you refuse consent it is an invasion of privacy.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO RATE POSITIVELY

THIS GIVES ME A CREDIT

I WORK FOR CREDITS

Attorney Bill

Customer: replied 6 days ago.
By "this" I mean...trying to bring tenants in when the current tenant does not want to be disturbed and is busy trying to pack and prepare for the move.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
If I ask additional questions, it is because I am not clear on some point or may need additional clarity.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
OK - so my understanding is that if we refuse consent, we are within our legal rights to do so, correct? And this is because we can make the (valid?) argument that it would be both unreasonable and an invasion of our privacy, under the current circumstances (that are already outlined above), to bring any prospective tenants to the unit, correct?
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
We would not want to give consent unless and only if we are legally REQUIRED to do so.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
even for this Friday, simply because it is too much of an invasion of our privacy and we are busy enough as it is without having to worry about tidying up the entire three bedroom house just so the PM can show it to others before we move out.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
We feel that the PM can and should show the unit AFTER we move out.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
that what we want is not unreasonable, again, under the circumstances)
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
This is an extremely hectic and busy time for us, we have a small claims court issue to deal with as well on another matter, we are both working at our jobs, and we have to sort through a three bedroom house full of things and pack them, for the movers. This (the PM coming over with prospective tenants) is just about the LAST thing we need for her to do.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
We are not interested in actually "suing" her in court, by the way--we just want to be left alone in peace...to be able to prepare for the move **without** being disturbed. And we would definitely consider this a significant disturbance.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
it is not so much about suing her after she enters unlawfully...it is more about how to prevent her from entering in the first place (at least for us, it is).
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
I don't think you answered this yet (it was for clarity), so I'll post question again:If we refuse consent, we are within our legal rights to do so, correct? And this is because we can make the (valid?) argument that it would be both unreasonable and an invasion of our privacy, under the current circumstances (that are already outlined above), to bring any prospective tenants to the unit, correct?
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
You wrote:
"Your actions by denying entry without written notice seem reasonable."But does denying entry (even if she gives written notice) until after we move out also seem reasonable? We think so. But we want to get your opinion too.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
It's not like the house is in any presentable condition, after all. It's a complete mess due to all the sorting and packing that we're currently going through.
Stacks of boxes everywhere too...not the right circumstances to show any prospective tenant. I think that this could be an attempt by the owner (through the PM, his rep) to "see" what the unit looks like before we move out, when he really should leave us alone at his very busy time.
Customer: replied 6 days ago.
Hello -
Did you see my last three questions, above?
Expert:  Bill Attorney replied 5 days ago.

Thank You

I tenant can reasonably refuse entry, that is correct; so long as you don't unreasonably do so.

I SEE YOU NEVER RATED POSITIVELY DESPITE OBTAINING SUBSTANTIAL LEGAL INFORMATION

I believe your question is answered as it is impossible for me to foresee all the circumstances that may happen.

This is a legal information website.

I encourage you to request me again and ask me another question come Friday

Attorney Bill

Customer: replied 5 days ago.
Hello Attorney Bill,
I am still unclear on some things, sorry. I know you have send responses, but please understand that we do not have a legal background and so there are a few areas that are still unclear to us both. For example, one is in regard to your professional opinion (as a legal expert) on the question I posed above (please see below, as I have retyped it, though not verbatim):#1) Does denying entry (even if the PM gives us the written notice to enter) until **after** we move out...seem reasonable to **you** (as a legal expert)?#2) And if (despite our reply that we would like her to wait until after we move out for her to bring people over) the PM goes ahead and gives us written notice to enter anyway, do we still have the right to physically **deny** her entry?Update: The PM called and left another voicemail yesterday (on Sunday), again requesting to bring the prospective tenants over to the property. We have replied (via email, so there exists a record of the correspondence) and told her that it would be both unreasonable and an invasion of our privacy, under the circumstances (house currently in disarray, packing in process, stacks of boxes and personal possessions everywhere around the house, being very busy with juggling our jobs and having to do all these things to prepare to move, etc.).We are currently awaiting her reply.
Customer: replied 5 days ago.
3) In reference to question #2 above, IF we **do** have the right to physically deny the PM entry, would we have the right to change the locks on the property, assuming the PM's replies give us an indication that she will attempt to enter the property anyway, despite our wishes?
Expert:  barristerinky replied 5 days ago.

Hello, new expert here... My name is ***** ***** in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years..

.

The bot***** *****ne here is that you as a tenant can simply refuse to allow any entry at all, and can tell the landlord that you will call the police if they attempt entry and will sue them for invasion of privacy and breach of contract if they do so while you are not home.

.

The landlord isn't going to want to deal with having the police called, or in potentially being sued, so they will then try to schedule something with you during normal business hours.

.

But you can still refuse and make the same threats, even if you have no intention of following through. The landlord will likely just decide that it isn't worth the trouble and then wait until you have vacated to do anything.

.

.

thanks

Barrister

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