These days we give up a certain degree of privacy just so that we can perform basic duties, enjoy certain benefits, and generally live our lives. However, it’s one thing to sacrifice a few inconveniences online, but it is entirely different to have essential privacy rights violated in the comfort and sanctity of your own living space. Your right to privacy is a fundamental renting right.
General Privacy Rights
Prior to renting, potential tenants give the landlord financial and other private information. Landlords also gain personal information just from the landlord tenant relationship. It might seem obvious, but they are legally obligated to keep this information confidential and to protect it from getting out to third parties.
Project management companies increasingly turn to social media to screen potential tenants. Although access to social media profiles can’t be a requirement of the application process, landlords can still look at public content. Not an invasion of privacy per se, but it’s something to be aware of and it can bring up other legal issues, such as housing discrimination.
Tenant’s Right to Quiet Enjoyment
When you sign a lease or rental property agreement, you have the right of exclusive possession of the property. This is considered the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment. Although the landlord/property management companies may own the property, every tenant has the right to enjoy the property they have rented without anyone else entering that property.
There are certain circumstances which are exceptions to this:
- Entrance to make necessary or agreed-upon repairs.
- Show the property to prospective tenants, buyers, mortgage holders, repair persons, or contractors.
- When the tenant has already moved.
- Landlord is authorized to be there by a court order.
Absent 24-hour written notice for one of the exceptions or an emergency, the landlord isn’t allowed to enter without your consent. This also applies to their agent. For example, if the property manager goes into your unit and rifles through your personal belongings, this would of course be a violation. Or if the landlord gives your apartment key to a painter who arrives at your place, unannounced and unsupervised when you’re in the middle of eating your lunch.
If your landlord invades your space, then you can look into suing them (and whoever else enters with their permission) for breaching your quiet enjoyment. This can also be considered harassment, depending on the circumstances. However, in most instances a single occasion of an unlawful entry is likely not enough to justify bringing a lawsuit.
Is Your Landlord Invading Your Privacy? Talk to a Tenants’ Rights Attorney
Privacy is increasingly becoming more of a rare commodity. But that doesn’t mean that your privacy rights should be violated without any remedy. If you’re dealing with a landlord that has entered your apartment or has allowed someone else to enter without your permission, then you may have grounds to sue them for breaching your quiet enjoyment. You should get in touch with the tenants’ rights attorneys at Wolford Wayne to learn more about your rights. Contact us right away to get started.