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What constitutes a legal 48 hour notice of entry?
May 26, 2011 3:01 PM   Subscribe

WA state rental law question: What actually constitutes a legal 48 hour notice of entry?

My apartment manager posts 48 hour entry notices on our (internal) apartment doors. No phone calls, no emails or other confirmation.

This is a problem because I may not even know that I have a notice posted on my door for up to 24 hours. (I'm able to stay indoors for up to a day or two sometimes, depending on the weather outside.)

It's also a problem because in the past I've had juvenile asshats remove the notice from my door and other people's doors and just litter them in the hallway or throw them away. (I once found a notice from my door in the hallway on the floor below mine.)

I do want to work with my landlord and be a good tenant and be available for repairs and inspections and all that good stuff, but this method of notification seems very iffy and problematic. We've had clashes before where she's been at my door without me receiving proper notification and it makes me look like an asshole and frustrates her job.

It's also extremely stressful for me as it triggers my anxiety/PTSD for a number of reasons. Yeah, I have issues and I'm a wimp, but this sort of short notice generally sends me into a panic as I try to sweep up and put away my laundry and prepare for being intruded upon. I'm usually unable to sleep the night before.

Is her method of posting 24 hour notices actually legal? I do believe I have a reasonable expectation to a mutually confirmed 48 hour notification.
posted by loquacious to Law & Government (8 answers total)
 
Can you ask her nicely to slip it under your door?
posted by jangie at 3:08 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


According to the Washington State Tenant's Union, a note on your door is adequate notice to enter. Mutually confirmed notice might be nice, but it's not required by law. Also, note that the landlord or manager does not need to provide notice in event of an emergency, and for purposes of showing the unit, only 24 hours is required.

You can request that your manager call you and leave a message instead, but you'd be asking them to do so as a courtesy accommodation of your issues. Ask nicely, recognize that they'd be doing you a favor and increasing the manager's workload, and see if they're able to work with you.
posted by Kpele at 3:10 PM on May 26, 2011


loquacious: "I do believe I have a reasonable expectation to a mutually confirmed 48 hour notification."

I am very sorry but I do not believe you do. I'm sure someone will pop in with a more concrete, statutory answer. Regardless of that, can I suggest a slightly different approach? Can you tell her what you said here, namely "We've had clashes before where you've been at my door without me receiving notification and it makes me look like a jerk and frustrates your job. To avoid this for both of us, would it be possible for you to slide the notice under my door?"

Possibly you could also bolt a little brass plate on your door that says "Kindly post notices under door. Thank you."
posted by DarlingBri at 3:11 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I sent her an email requesting email or phone notifications, acknowledging that it isn't a legal requirement but that I would deeply appreciate it.

Since she's the manager of an income-restricted housing authority property I'm not going to be surprised if she just rolls her eyes at my request. She always seems to be annoyed and or stressed by the job. Considering some of my neighbors I don't blame her. She probably has to deal with a lot worse than little old me. (We recently had to update the lease to include the terms that verbal or physical abuse of the staff wouldn't be tolerated and was grounds for eviction.)
posted by loquacious at 4:14 PM on May 26, 2011


... in the past I've had juvenile asshats remove the notice from my door and other people's doors and just litter them in the hallway or throw them away.

Is the apartment manager aware of this? If not, make sure to mention it. An under-the-door request will seem more than reasonable in this light -- even though it's entirely reasonable to begin with -- especially if you point out that this has been happening to happens to all tenants and not just you.
posted by matlock expressway at 4:15 PM on May 26, 2011


Yeah, it's been mentioned at least twice by me before this, and was re-iterated in my last email.

I can't imagine she doesn't know that this is happening, but she might be so jaded by her job she's just assuming I'm lying.
posted by loquacious at 4:17 PM on May 26, 2011


Yeah, I have issues and I'm a wimp, but this sort of short notice generally sends me into a panic as I try to sweep up and put away my laundry and prepare for being intruded upon. I'm usually unable to sleep the night before.

You are not a wimp. I hate it when the doorbell rings. It fills me with a sense of dread and activates my fight-or-flight response. It was just recently when a friend mentioned that she has a similiar reaction that I realized this is far more common than I thought. Be kind to yourself, loq.
posted by mlis at 10:59 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dude, I feel your anxiety. I HATE it when strangers come into my house, especially my bedroom.

I've lived at the same apartment complex for about 9 years now. Three different apartments, due to various circumstances. It's HUD funded, so we have occasional inspections and lots of intrusive paperwork (ack, I have to remember to turn in the biannual income report, like tomorrow, but my job was crazy this week and the office folks aren't very available).

I haven't received HUD funding in about 3 years now, which takes us out of part of the inspection cycle. We still live here because we're frugal, it's on a convenient bus route for my job, I HATE moving, and we're saving up for a house. However, a couple of years ago there was a knock at my door that I wasn't expecting. No notice at all. It was the HUD inspection.

"I never received notice and we're not receiving HUD assistance. If you want to give me notice now and come back tomorrow, that's cool, but you aren't coming in right now." I was in my bathrobe and obviously trying to get ready for work. The manager at the time tried to sputter some argument, but the HUD inspector totally had my side. "No notice, no entry," he said, "she's absolutely within her rights."

The HUD or housing inspector is actually on the tenant's side, making sure management and maintenance folks are doing their jobs. Yeah, they're also making sure that you aren't some kind of crazy dangerous hoarder, but that's when they call in social services to help.

(I've seen the pictures you've posted of your apartment, and unless things have changed drastically, you are good to go. My place is more cluttered than yours. I also need to do some more spring cleaning before my parents visit on Sunday.)

I'd try talking to the manager when it isn't a stressful time for either of you and just explain nicely what your situation is. I'm sure she's jaded. She's still a human being and so are you. Do your best to be patient and hopefully she'll respond. If it continues to be badly handled, call or email the office that handles the rental assistance, whether it's HUD or some local housing authority.

At least it isn't the cops mistakenly looking at your place for the guy they think is hiding out across the hall (and who isn't there, either). After the "cop knock" and grilling by some 20-year-old I had to call "Sir" for propriety, I didn't stop shaking for a couple of hours, thanks to my decade-long PTSD and general anger. I hadn't even finished the first beer of the evening. I think I switched to tequila shortly after, just on general principles.
posted by lilywing13 at 1:30 AM on May 27, 2011


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