Can a Landlord Enter Without Permission to Close Shutters in a Storm?
Tenants have the right to privacy within their dwellings. However, landlords may enter with reasonable prior notice and at a reasonable time: (a) to provide necessary or agreed upon repairs or services; (b) in accordance with the lease; or (c) to show the apartment to prospective purchasers or tenants. In emergencies, such as fires, the landlord may enter the apartment without prior notice of tenant’s consent. A landlord may not abuse the limited right of entry or use it to harass a tenant.
The answer will depend on whether the situation could be deemed an emergency. It would be a matter of subjective determination for the court whether the circumstances warranted urgent action to avoid property damage. Except in the case of emergency, a landlord (and/or his representatives) must gain permission from the tenant in order to enter. The tenant may not unreasonably deny permission. Either party may obtain injunctive relief from the courts if the other party is unreasonable regarding access issues. A tenant generally cannot change the locks unless the landlord agrees. Also, the tenant cannot add locks that might stop a landlord from entering the unit if there is an emergency or if the landlord has a valid reason for entering the rental unit and the landlord has given the tenant proper notice to enter. If the tenant does change the lock, a copy of the key should be given to the landlord immediately.