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State rules on when and how landlords may enter tenant rental units.
When tenants sign a lease or rental agreement, they gain the right to exclusive use of the rental. This means that the landlord cannot enter the rental except as allowed by the terms of the lease or rental agreement and state law. Many states have laws requiring landlords to give tenants a minimum amount of notice (often 24 hours) before entering an occupied rental unit. Often, these laws also specify circumstances when a landlord may enter a tenant's rental unit (for example, to make repairs or show the unit to prospective renters). Here is a summary of state landlord access laws.
Note that even if a specific situation is not specifically mentioned in a statute, other law (such as that created by court decisions) might grant the landlord the right to enter. For example, in all states, even in the absence of a statute, landlords may enter to deal with a true emergency (an imminent and serious threat to health, safety, or property); and when the tenant has abandoned the property (left for good). Most states specify non-emergency circumstances that justify entry, and some explicitly include abandonment and "extended absence" (temporary but prolonged absence, which allows a landlord to enter when necessary to protect the property).
Also, always check to see if your lease or rental agreement includes a clause regarding the landlord's right to enter—many states allow landlords and tenants to make access agreements that differ from statutory law. If you have any questions about landlords' access laws in your state, contact a local tenants' rights group for help, or consult a local landlord-tenant attorney.
- By Ann O’Connell, Attorney on nolo.com
A quick look at Oregon Revised Statutes 90.322, 90.410
Amount of Notice Required in Non-emergency Situations
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