Inevitably during a tenancy the landlord will need to enter the rental unit for either emergency or non-emergency repairs and maintenance. This “right to entry” as it is referred to in a lease agreement is often misunderstood by tenants. In fact, in on-line tenant forums it is one of the most frequently asked questions by tenants – when can my landlord legally enter the unit?

Emergency vs. Non-Emergency

Of course, if there is an emergency the landlord has the legal right to enter the unit. The landlord has the right and obligation to ascertain the safety and security of the occupants and the property itself. Emergencies are fairly self-explanatory, but they could include situations such as fire, natural disaster, or if a law enforcement officer requires access to the unit.

In Texas there is no statute for the notice period required by landlord for non-emergency access to a unit.

On the other hand, general maintenance issues, either ongoing or requested by the tenant, are the main reasons for a landlord to require non-emergency entry to a rental unit. In Texas there is no statute for the notice period required by landlord for non-emergency access to a unit. However, the majority of landlords use courtesy and common sense when providing notice to their tenants if they need to enter the unit to repair or maintain the unit. A good landlord will be in communication with his tenants on an ongoing basis about a variety of topics, whether it is the need to do quarterly pest control, to repair an appliance, or to respond to a specific request by the tenant. Experienced landlords and tenants know that maintaining an amicable relationship is important, and providing some level of flexibility regarding requests to enter the unit goes a long way in that relationship.

24 Hour Notice Period

So, while Texas law does not specify the time period that landlords must give tenants to enter for non-emergency reasons, 24 hours is a good place to start . Schedule the entry during regular business hours, and try to work around the tenant’s schedule as much as possible. LeaseRunner’s Texas lease uses the 24 hour time period as a default, but remember that each situation is different and you can always request a different time period. It is a good practice to provide notice in writing, and once you are finished in the unit make sure to indicate the time that you left the unit. Remember, more communication with your tenants is always better than little to no communication!