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We rent a home in Seneca, SC. A tree fell on the house July…

Customer Question
We rent a home...

We rent a home in Seneca, SC. A tree fell on the house July 17th causing damage to the roof and interior of the home. There is not extensive damage to the interior and the tree was removed and a tarp used to cover the roof. Our property manager wants to give keys to contractors for estimates so they are able to come in if we are not home. I have raised concerns about who these contractors are and why they are given keys. Even if we are home and available to let the contractor in they are still giving him a key just in case. I see a real safety issue with giving a key to a third party. These are not just contractors they have worked with before because the owner of the home is also setting up appointments. I'm not denying that repairs need to be made I just want to either let them in myself or an employee from Cope Property to accompany them. Can a property manager call a contractor an agent and give them a key to a tenants home? I was under the impression that either the Landlord or Landlords agent (employee of Cope Property) would have to present to allow access if the tenant is not available. My real question is they key. I don't want a key given to a third party. Do I have any rights in this situation?

Lawyer's Assistant: Does this involve a written or oral agreement? Is it a month-to-month lease or fixed term?

We have a written contract. 12 month term.

Submitted: 6 months ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
8/2/2017
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 8,352
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, eligible to practice in front of state and federal court, who is ready to help. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here to see my ratings information) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation and I hope everybody is okay. Generally, contractors and other repair people are going to be considered agents of the landlord. Usually, a landlord is not going to be able to fix everything that goes wrong on the property so they need to enlist agents ( plumbers, electricians, or other individuals) to serve as their agents to help repair the property. However, as the tenant, your rights are to not let anyone into your property. Just keep in mind that if the landlord cannot allow the agents to make the necessary repairs, then you may waive your rights that run along side this situation, such as the right to sue if the property is not repaired or withhold the rent if you repair it yourself. Therefore, what would probably Workout best is if you explain to the landlord that because you are leasing the property you have the right to not let anybody into the property without your permission, including the landlord in their agents, but you were willing to let the contractors into the property so long as you are there.

Follow up questions are free, so please feel free to ask away. You can also click here in the future to request me individually. If you don’t have any additional questions, were you satisfied with my service today?

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
I believe they are saying this constitutes as an emergency and they have the right to come in with or without my permission. This happened July 17th and now they are wanting estimates to happen while we are not at home. This is not for the repair but estimates. They are allowing all these different contractors access to the home without be accompanied by someone from Cope Property. My concern is they have no prior relationship with some of these contractors. They are giving them a key for full access to our home and how can they ensure these contractors intentions are strictly for business purposes. Can I still insist that a key not be given to a contractor, but I have no rejections for an employee of Cope Property to accompany them (open and secure the home when estimate is complete)?
Real Estate Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago

The answer to your question is yes. You can still insist at the key not be given to the contractor. the landlord can argue that this is an emergency, you can argue that it's not an emergency, but without a court order saying one way or another, it's just going to be one party saying one thing and another party saying another thing. Generally, my recommendation would be to demand that the key not be given to the contractor and that your rights as the tenant or that you can control who comes in and out of the property. You should also explain that this is not an emergency situation. You can explain that although fixing the roof is urgent, it is not an emergency such as a fire, such that there is an immediate risk to life and limb.

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