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Can A Landlord Do A Walk-Through Without You?

Your landlord wants to do a walk-through while you’re at work and you aren’t happy with their schedule. What are your rights in this situation? Can a landlord do a walk-through without you?

In short, if your lease and/or state law allows unaccompanied walk-throughs, your landlord can do a walk-through without you if they’ve given you proper written notice and have a legitimate reason to enter your home.

When Can A Landlord Do A Walk-Through Without You 2024?

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Your landlord has the right to do a walk-through without you if they’ve given you the proper notice and your lease/state law allows for inspections in your absence. While landlords have the right to inspect their property, they have to follow the law. 

The written notice includes:

  • Text message
  • Email
  • Letter
  • Notice on your door

See more: What Happens After You Get Approved For Section 8?
See more: Is It Illegal To Deny Housing To A Felon?

Check Your Lease

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Check your lease, looking for the sections covering move-in and move-out inspections and the landlord’s rights of entry.

Your lease may state you have the right to be present during any walk-throughs or inspections. If so, the landlord cannot enter without your permission. Remind your landlord of this right if they’re reluctant to reschedule the walk-through.

If your lease doesn’t give you the right to be present, check your local laws. Some jurisdictions, California for example, give tenants the right to be present during inspections.

Your lease should also cover how much notice will be given. Your local laws may also specify a minimum notice period. State laws vary, with many states only requiring 24 hours notice. 

Legitimate Reasons For A Walk-Through

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If you’ve been given the correct notice period, check to make sure the walk-through is for a legitimate purpose. As a tenant, you have the right to privacy and to enjoy your home without unnecessary disturbance or interruption.

Some reasons landlords have the right to enter their property include:

  • An inspection walk-through a few days after you move in to establish the condition of the property with you.
  • An inspection walk-through before you move out or before your lease is renewed.
  • Showing the property to a prospective tenant.
  • Inspecting the property with an assessor for refinancing or insurance purposes.
  • Carrying out a periodic inspection or maintenance check.
  • Checking for possible damage caused by an issue in a neighboring unit (water leak, pest infestation, etc.)
  • Checking for suspected lease violations (unapproved pets, unauthorized occupants, etc.)

Try To Reschedule The Walk-Through

Contact the landlord or property manager and ask to reschedule the walk-through. Let them know you’re happy for them to inspect the property but you would prefer to be present. Suggest some time slots that work for you.

Landlords are permitted to enter a tenant’s home during ordinary business hours. These are usually from 8 AM to 5 PM Monday to Friday. You can arrange a walk-through outside those hours if your landlord is available.

Another option is to ask your landlord to carry out the walk-through at the start or end of the day, enabling you to go to work later or leave earlier to accommodate the inspection.

Protecting Your Interests During An Unaccompanied Walk-Through

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If a walk-through is going ahead without you, here are a couple of suggestions to help you guard against potential dishonest behavior from your landlord.

Ask A Friend To Be Present

Ask a trusted friend to be present during the walk-through to oversee and document the landlord’s inspection.

Make sure your friend understands what the landlord is and isn’t allowed to inspect. Landlords can check their property but they have no right to look through your property. That means they can’t rifle through drawers or storage units.

Ask your friend to video the inspection from the moment the landlord enters your home.

Set Up Cameras

Setting up cameras is a solution for renters who can’t be present for the walk-through.

Indoor security cameras and mini cameras are inexpensive options you can use to protect yourself against intentional damage caused by the landlord and theft.

Your local Walmart is a good option for finding suitable cameras at short notice.

Let your landlord know about the surveillance. They’re unlikely to try anything shady if they know everything is on camera.

Prepare For The Walk-Through

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No matter the reason for the walk-through, it’s sensible to take some precautions to achieve the best outcome.

  • Clean and tidy your home. 
  • Spot-clean fitted carpets to remove stains.  
  • Wipe away dirty marks on walls and doors.
  • Place your important documents and valuables inside a locked drawer.
  • Remove any drug paraphernalia.
  • For smokers in a smoke-free rental – air out your home and place air fresheners in any rooms you smoke in.
  • Go through each room and take video and close-up photographs. Make sure you photograph kitchen and bathroom fixtures, light fittings, switches, sockets, windows, latches, and handles.

Next Steps

  • Check your lease and local laws to find out if unaccompanied walk-throughs are permitted and how much notice the landlord has agreed to provide.
  • Try to arrange for a friend to be present, or install cameras for your peace of mind.
  • Take detailed videos and photographs to document the condition of the property. 
  • If you need further advice, contact a local tenant’s rights organization.