A landlord owns the property a tenant or lessee resides; however, that doesn’t mean they can enter your apartment without permission. A tenant’s privacy is included in their rights, along with comfort, and quiet enjoyment of their space. In New York, a tenant must be made aware of the entry with enough notice. If there is an emergency that needs to be addressed urgently where the unit or others are at risk, there is an exception. Lastly, if invited by the tenant the landlord doesn’t need to establish further notice.
Everyone is different, their previous tenant may have not needed as much notice as you do and invited them to come during weekends and even holidays. You may not observe the same guidelines and that should be respected. If a landlord is believed to be intentionally or unintentionally violating a tenant’s rights, there are steps the tenant can talk to address the matter without bringing in 3rd parties.
While it can be intimidating sharing your thoughts and preferences with your landlord, especially regarding their behavior, you should have a conversation with them to address anything you feel needs to stop for you to observe your rights including the fact that you don’t allow the landlord to access your apartment without permission.
This doesn’t give a tenant a pass to use abusive language or even be rude to their landlord. You can start by saying what you appreciate for example, “You’ve kept the home in great shape and I truly enjoy living here” then go into an alternative way for them to go about what they had done. “When you have the HVAC looked at, could you let me know ahead of time? I’d like a week’s notice so I can arrange my schedule accordingly.”
Using the Law
You come home to find the maintenance man under your sink after a long day of work, unannounced, and decide you’ve had enough. You send him on his way and tell him to come back on Monday. Now, deciding to take it a step further you inform your landlord that if your rights continue to be violated you will have to take legal action by certified mail.
Solving the Problem
If it gets to that point, mediation and court are options to confront the other party and come to a solution. Before you start calculating legal fees it’s helpful to know that there are free mediation services available to you. In court, you will argue your case, considering the subject matter it will likely go to small claims court.
What to Expect
Despite, television legal claims may not offer the financial payday you see on shows or movies, but it can recover money from any losses you’ve suffered as a result of the landlord’s behavior.
At the end of the day, a sincere mention of seeking legal means to solve the issue might bring the landlord to reality and end your troubles.
If the disagreement is insurmountable, and your landlord frequently enters your apartment without permission then moving is an option. Given the New York market, that may not be very attractive to you; nevertheless, it is within your rights. There is a correct way to go about giving notice and leaving the property but if you feel the unit is “uninhabitable” there are ways to leave the property on short notice without any repercussions because the lease you signed has been violated. Carefully review your lease, keep documentation, and know your rights!