Can My Landlord Show My Apartment Before I Move Out?

As a lease ends, landlords and tenants often have questions about how to handle apartment showings. This guide will help both parties understand the process and work together for a smooth transition.

By
Nichole Stohler
|
Last Updated
April 2, 2024
Can My Landlord Show My Apartment Before I Move Out?

As a lease comes to an end, both landlords and tenants may find themselves in a tricky situation. Landlords need to show the apartment to prospective renters, but current tenants still have the right to privacy in their own homes. The delicate balance between a landlord's business needs and a tenant's comfort can lead to tension for both parties.

For landlords and tenants in this situation, you should understand your rights and responsibilities. The best approach for showing an occupied rental unit involves open communication, following local laws, and a willingness to find solutions that work for everyone involved.

In this guide, we'll cover the legal aspects of showing a rental property before the current tenant moves out. We'll explore strategies for maintaining a positive landlord-tenant relationship during this transition period and provide practical advice for dealing with potential conflicts.  You’ll gain a clearer understanding of how to handle this situation effectively, which will minimize stress for all parties.

Can your landlord show your apartment before you move out?

Yes, landlords have the right to show your apartment to prospective tenants or buyers before you move out. However, they must follow specific guidelines to respect your privacy and follow state and local landlord-tenant laws.

The extent of your landlord's right to show your unit and your obligations as a tenant will depend on a few factors. These include the terms of your lease agreement, the reason for the showing, and the laws in your jurisdiction.

Tenants' privacy rights

Even though landlords own the rental properties, tenants still have rights to their apartment during their tenancy. Landlords cannot enter a rented unit whenever they want, because tenants' privacy is protected by the law.

Landlord entry

Laws in most states regulate when and how a landlord can enter a tenant's home. Usually, landlords need to provide notice before entering a tenant's rental unit. An exception to this is when there are emergencies like a water or gas leak.

Proper notice should specify the time, date, and purpose of the entry, such as making repairs, conducting inspections, or showing the unit to prospective tenants or buyers.

Entry by third parties

Third parties may also need to access the rental unit on occassion. These could be building inspectors, contractors for repairs or renovations, and real estate agents hired by the landlord to show the rental property to new tenants.

The same notice requirements apply to these third parties, and the identities of the individuals who will be entering the unit should be specified.

Landlord harassment concerns

Even though landlords have the right to enter the rental unit under certain circumstances, they must do so reasonably and without bothering tenants. If the landlord enters the unit without proper notice or at unreasonable times, it could be considered harassment.

Tenants who feel their landlords are harassing them should document these incidents and consult local housing authorities for assistance. Landlord harassment is considered a violation of the tenant's right to quiet enjoyment of the premises and could lead to legal action or termination of the lease agreement.

Landlord's right to show property

While tenants have privacy rights, landlords also need to show the property to find a new tenant or buyer before the current tenant moves out. This allows them to find new renters or buyers quickly to avoid vacancies and loss of income. Here are the steps a landlord should take to show the rental unit to prospective tenants while remaining considerate of the current tenant.

Proper notice requirements

Landlords must follow proper procedures and provide advance notice. Most jurisdictions require landlords to give at least 24-48 hours' notice before showing the unit, but some may require 72 hours or even a week's notice.

The notice should specify when they are coming, how long they'll be staying, and his or her intent to show it to prospective buyers or tenants.

Reasonable showing times and frequency

Landlords need to make sure that showings happen at reasonable times and at a reasonable frequency. Showings should be scheduled during normal business hours, avoiding early mornings, late evenings, and mealtimes, because these are disruptive to the tenant's daily routine.

While there is no exact legal standard, most experts say that it's best to limit showings to no more than a few times per week unless the tenant agrees to more.

The tenant's obligation to allow landlord entry

If the landlord follows the proper notice requirements and schedules showings at reasonable times, the tenant must allow access to the rental unit. If the tenant refuses to grant access despite the landlord's reasonable notice and requests, there could be legal consequences for the tenant.

Tenants don't have to vacate the unit during showings. They have the right to stay present, but they shouldn't interfere with the process or act in a way that could scare a prospective tenant or buyer. Tenants should also make sure that the rental unit looks clean and presentable for the showing.

Tenant compliance

When your landlord wants to show your apartment to prospective tenants, there are things you can do to make the process seamless for everyone involved. Here's how to be a team player and keep things running smoothly:

  • Cooperate scheduling: Work with your landlord to find mutually agreeable times for them to show the unit to prospective tenants during regular business hours.
  • Keep the apartment clean and presentable: Maintain a tidy and well-kept living space during the showing period to create a positive impression for each potential renter.
  • Refrain from sabotaging the showings: Avoid any actions that could intentionally interfere with the landlord's efforts to show the apartment. This includes making negative comments about the property, leaving the place messy, or creating disruptions during showings.
  • Be professional and courteous: If you meet prospective tenants during showings, be polite and courteous. Don't make negative comments about the apartment or the landlord.
  • Secure pets: If you have pets, make sure they are secured or remove them from the apartment during potential tenant showings to prevent issues or disruptions.
  • Communicate concerns respectfully: If you have concerns about the showing process, discuss them with your landlord in a calm and respectful manner to find a solution that works for both parties.
  • Prioritize your moving process: Focus on your own moving preparations, and don't let the inconvenience of showings distract you from your goals. The short-term disruption will ultimately lead to a successful transition to your new home.

Conflict resolution and access to property

Even if there are rules and guidelines, landlords and tenants might still disagree about showings. Both parties need to balance and sort out their valid concerns and interests. Strategies to find a middle ground and reduce conflicts include:

  • Understanding local landlord and tenant laws: The first step in resolving conflicts over showings is for both landlords and tenants to learn about the landlord-tenant laws in their area. These laws explain the rights and responsibilities of each party and the proper procedures for handling different situations like showings.
  • Compensation for the inconvenience: In some cases, landlords may compensate tenants for the hassle of frequent or disruptive viewings. This compensation could be a discount on rent, a one-time payment, or other incentives, such as offering to professionally clean the unit after the tenant moves out. Note that landlords do not have to provide compensation unless it's in the lease or rental agreement or required by local laws.
  • Be considerate of each other's concerns: Landlords and tenants should try to be considerate of each other's concerns and work together to find solutions. Landlords should respect the tenant's privacy and minimize disruptions. Tenants should understand that landlords need to show the property and should cooperate with reasonable requests.
  • Document the condition of the rental unit: Before showings begin, tenants should take photos or videos of the rental unit to document its condition. This can help prevent disputes over damage or cleanliness later on.
  • Establish communication channels: Both parties should agree on the best way to communicate about showings, such as through email, text messages, or a specific phone number. This can help both parties receive timely updates and address any concerns promptly.
  • Set reasonable expectations: Landlords should provide tenants with an estimate of how many showings they expect to conduct and how long they anticipate the process will take. This can help tenants plan accordingly and minimize disruptions to their daily lives.
  • Seek mediation or legal advice: If conflicts over showings escalate and direct communication fails to resolve them, landlords and tenants may need to seek mediation services or legal advice.

Refusing property access

When a tenant consistently refuses to allow the landlord or their representatives to show the property, it can lead to serious consequences. This is especially true if the landlord has followed proper procedures and provided the required notice.

Breach of lease agreement

Refusal to grant entry for showings without a valid legal reason can be considered a violation of the lease agreement. Most lease contracts include a clause that requires tenants to provide reasonable access to the landlord for specific purposes, such as showing the property to prospective tenants or buyers.

Legal consequences

If a tenant continues to deny access for showings, the landlord may pursue legal action. The specific consequences will depend on the laws and regulations of the jurisdiction but may include:

  • Eviction: In some cases, the landlord may have grounds to terminate the lease and begin the eviction process. This can force the tenant to vacate the property and may negatively impact their credit and ability to secure future housing.
  • Liability for lost rent: If the tenant's refusal to allow showings results in the landlord losing potential tenants or buyers, the tenant may be held liable for the lost rent or sale opportunity.
  • Fines or penalties: Some local or state laws may impose fines or penalties on tenants who unreasonably deny entry to the landlord for legitimate purposes.

Documentation of refusal

To support any legal action, landlords should keep records of their attempts to schedule showings and the tenant's refusal to cooperate. This documentation may include:

  • Written notices provided to the tenant regarding the planned showings.
  • Communication logs (e.g., emails, text messages) demonstrating the tenant's refusal.

Mitigating factors

There may be situations where a tenant has legitimate reasons for refusing access, such as health concerns. Landlords should attempt to address these concerns directly and find mutually agreeable solutions before pursuing legal action.

Seek legal advice

Both landlords and tenants may benefit from seeking legal advice from professionals familiar with local landlord-tenant laws. An experienced attorney can assess the specific circumstances, advise on the most appropriate course of action, and verify the protection of all parties' rights throughout the process.

Can landlords show your apartment?

Showing a rental unit while someone is still living there can be challenging for both landlords and tenants. Though balancing apartment tours with tenant privacy might seem like a tough situation, when landlords and tenants work together, the process can go smoothly.

The most important things are open communication and a willingness to find solutions that work for everyone. Landlords and tenants should take the time to learn about their rights and responsibilities based on local laws and their lease agreements.

Landlords should do their best to minimize disruptions to their tenants' lives while still being able to effectively show the property. Conversely, tenants should try to be accommodating and cooperative, knowing that showings are a normal part of the rental process.

Can my landlord show my apartment? FAQs

Can I refuse to let my landlord show my apartment in NJ?

In New Jersey, tenants must allow their landlord to show the rental unit to potential tenants or buyers with proper written notice. The landlord should provide at least 24 hours' advance notice, and showings should be conducted during normal daytime hours. Refusing entry after receiving legal notice can lead to eviction for denying reasonable access.

Can a tenant refuse to allow viewings in Texas?

Throughout most of the lease term, tenants in Texas have the right to refuse entry for viewings. But during the final month of the lease, your landlord can show the rental to prospective tenants or buyers with reasonable notice. Tenants cannot withhold consent during this period without facing potential legal consequences.

Can a tenant refuse viewings in New York?

New York allows tenants to refuse viewings at any time, including during the lease's final month. Landlord entry for the purpose of showing the property requires the tenant's explicit consent. Without it, the landlord must obtain a court order to legally conduct viewings.

Nichole Stohler

Nichole co-founded Gateway Private Equity Group, with a history of investments in single-family and multi-family properties, and now a specialization in hotel real estate investments. She is also the creator of NicsGuide.com, a blog dedicated to real estate investing.

Rental rundown background image
Rental rundown hero image

Whether you’re a property owner, renter, property manager, or real estate agent, gain valuable insights, advice, and updates by joining our blog.

Subscriber Identity

I am a

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.