Do I have to allow my landlord to show the apartment to prospective buyers? My lease does not end until middle of next year.
November 4, 2011 7:00 PM   Subscribe

Do I have to allow my landlord to show the apartment to prospective buyers? My lease does not end until middle of next year. Its a nuisance and very disruptive. What are the rules around this? I am obviously the tenant and the landlord is trying to sell the apartment. Do I have a choice?
posted by r2d2 to Law & Government (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This information should be in your lease. Read your lease!
posted by Justinian at 7:05 PM on November 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Generally, yes, but with restrictions. This depends entirely on what city you are in.
posted by jeather at 7:06 PM on November 4, 2011

Probably depends (a lot) on where you are, but around where I live as long as they provide you with adequate written notice to enter your apartment, it's difficult to stop landlords from having access.
posted by Sternmeyer at 7:06 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

That same lease should detail whether you do or not, or how close to the end of your lease you have to make it available for potential buyers/lessees.

For anyone to help you more specifically with blanket tenant laws, we need to know what state you're in.
posted by disillusioned at 7:06 PM on November 4, 2011

Normally, you do have to allow this. That said, no-one can answer your question unless you tell us where you are renting.

Without knowing the appropriate jurisdiction, any answers will just be guesses.
posted by pompomtom at 7:06 PM on November 4, 2011

Where are you? If you're in Ontario, for example, the landlord needs to give you 24 hours and cannot prevent "reasonable enjoyment" of the property by the renter, but they do have the right to do what you describe, if they notify you a day ahead of time.
posted by mhoye at 7:07 PM on November 4, 2011

Response by poster: I am renting in New Jersey
posted by r2d2 at 7:10 PM on November 4, 2011

What exactly do you want? The landlord is allowed to show the place, and it's in their interest to have you happy (and not, say, leaving a huge mess, or being creepy and weird in front of the possible buyers, or whatever else), so you can probably get them to agree to reasonable notice and restricted times, but it does not appear that there are laws forcing the landlord to do anything in New Jersey.

That said, there may be information about this in your lease.
posted by jeather at 7:18 PM on November 4, 2011

City or county jurisdiction matters. You need to check with your local authority (or post city here in thread!)

- How much notice do you get before viewings?

- How frequent are viewings?

If your landlord wants more access with less notice than your jurisdiction allows, consider asking for a rent reduction for the inconvenience. Similarly, maybe you can negotiate someting with your landlord to cover a regular cleaning service? I hope?

For me, the worst part might be if small valuables went missing. I would HATE to have to constantly worry about where I placed some jewelry, iPod, digital camera, or random cash. Or my checkbook. Or anything with my social security number on it. Or personal mail. You get the idea! In this case, your home isn't your home, you constantly have to be worrying about strangers coming by.

You have some room to negotiate, depending on the specifics of the situation and local laws. Find out.
posted by jbenben at 7:22 PM on November 4, 2011

As I am constantly saying here, you are asking the wrong people in the wrong place. You haven't told us half of the facts that are necessary to properly answer the question and we are probably not qualified to do so. You need to talk to your local housing authority and/or an attorney as well as look at all of the text of your lease. Every jurisdiction has different rules and laws. Every printed lease has slight differences. Read your lease and see if it answers your questions. If it does not, ask the governmental entity that knows the answers in your community.
posted by Old Geezer at 8:04 PM on November 4, 2011

Note! The law trumps anything written in the lease in most jurisdictions. Even if your landlord stipulated XYZ detail, if the housing law in your jurisdiction contradicts that, the housing law wins if this goes before a judge. Or you file a formal complaint with the relevant housing authority.

IANAL and all that. But this is usually the way it works.
posted by jbenben at 8:13 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

At the bottom of this PDF from the NJ state goverment it says that in NJ the landlord has no right to enter a unit without permission except for inspection (in the case of multi dwelling units) or repairs (IE they are free to ask and you are free to say no) unless such access was written into the lease.
A landlord may request entry to a rental unit to perform other services or to show the unit for rerenting or sale. However there is no law that obligates a tenant to allow a landlord access to the rental premises for purposes other than inspection, maintenance and repair. Therefore, the issue of entry in other cases should be addressed in the terms of the lease.
posted by Mitheral at 9:49 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Your landlord can sell your place, and the new folks would have to honor the lease, as I understand it. When your lease ends isn't relevant.

It's a big pain, but you don't gain much by refusing, either.
posted by bluedaisy at 9:56 PM on November 4, 2011

Depends on your lease and your jurisdiction. Look into the time-requirement for notification.

If you have a problem with the showings, you can ask you landlord politely if they'd be willing to give you an hour or 24 hours notice for showings. Most will, especially if you're in a landlord's market - prospective renters are willing to bend over to appear to be a good prospective client and will work around for scheduled viewings rather than "I saw your sign outside, I'd like to see the unit *NOW*"
posted by porpoise at 10:02 PM on November 4, 2011

read your lease, read your municipal laws.

thats your answer. Besides that, nobody can tell you what to do based on 7 sentences
posted by hal_c_on at 10:42 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I dont know if this makes a difference but the landlord uses a realtor to show the place. Landlord actually lives in a different state!!

So the landlord never shows up for the viewings.
Well so far I have not complained but I am going to politely chat with the landlord.
posted by r2d2 at 10:59 PM on November 4, 2011

Do chat with the landlord! Realtors can be super aggressive and intrusive. They are salespeople, after all. The landlord will be able to remind the realtor that you have rights.
posted by myselfasme at 12:02 AM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yeah it's a pain, but the landlord can usually do that. I was in a similar situation last year but in Maryland. It was the final kicker after the landlords acted more like slumlords for the entire year, then they informed us that they were putting the house on the market and they had to give us 24 hours notice before people came to view.

The major annoyance wasn't so much when we got notice that the house would be shown(lucky for us, not a lot of people were interested because they were asking for WAY too much) but it was when people would randomly show up and want to see the house because they saw the listing.
posted by fromageball at 8:44 AM on November 5, 2011

Ask politely for earlier notification than is required in the lease, and you'll probably get it.

Or, if you're passive-aggressive, leave the place really messy and he won't want to show it.
posted by miyabo at 12:20 PM on November 5, 2011

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