A residential lease provides the tenant with exclusive use of the property. The right to quiet enjoyment is implicit in the transfer of occupancy from the landlord to the tenant. As such, in Georgia, there is no statute that grants permission to the landlord to enter the premises. However, the landlord often has the right to enter in specific circumstances, as described below. Even when the landlord has the right of entry, the lease may or may not require the provision of notice to enter the unit.
Emergency entry. A landlord may enter the property without notice for any reason that constitutes an emergency. This includes responding to a dangerous condition or situation in the unit, or acting to prevent damage to the premises. Most leases do not otherwise permit the landlord to enter at will. The tenant has the right to forbid the landlord from entering except in these limited circumstances. A landlord may also enter the unit without permission or consent if he has valid reason to believe that the premises have been abandoned by the lessee.
Non-emergency entry. If the landlord needs to enter the premises for a reason that is not considered an emergency, such as making routine repairs or conducting maintenance, he must give the tenant prior notice. The law does not specify how much notice is required, but 24 hours is considered reasonable and customary. General, non-emergency entry should take place during normal business hours from Monday to Friday unless the tenant otherwise agrees.
Permission to enter. Although landlords do not have a general right of entry, there are other situations in which the landlord seeks permission to enter the premises. Often this need arises when the current tenant is still in possession of the premises and the landlord wants to show the unit to prospective tenants. In this case, the landlord is authorized to enter upon providing a reasonable notice period to the current tenant, preferably 24 hours.
To avoid conflict, it is best for the landlord to minimize the number of times that he enters a tenant’s unit and to provide adequate notice if entry if necessary. The landlord should enter the tenant’s property only when there is an explicit purpose for doing so.
The experienced team of attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, P.C. can help you litigate your real estate claims. Contact Mark Weinstein and his colleagues at (770) 888-7707 or visit them at https://www.markweinsteinlaw.com to find out how they can advise you.