The Right to Civil Code 1954 Compliance
Your right to possession is subject to a very narrow exception, identified in Civil Code 1954. At first, these seem like petty quibbles, but their strategic value will become apparent. Here's the actual statute:
Â§1954. Entry by Landlord
(a) A landlord may enter the dwelling unit only in the following cases:
(1) In case of emergency.
(2) To make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations or improvements, supply necessary or agreed services, or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workers, or contractors or to make an inspection pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 1950.5.
(3) When the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises.
(4) Pursuant to court order.
(b) Except in cases of emergency or when the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises, entry may not be made during other than normal business hours unless the tenant consents to an entry during other than normal business hours at the time of entry.
(c) The landlord may not abuse the right of access or use it to harass the tenant.
(d)(1) Except as provided in subdivision (e), or as provided in paragraph (2) or (3), the landlord shall give the tenant reasonable notice in writing of his or her intent to enter and enter only during normal business hours. The notice shall include the date, approximate time, and purpose of the entry. The notice may be personally delivered to the tenant, left with someone of a suitable age and discretion at the premises, or, left on, near, or under the usual entry door of the premises in a manner in which a reasonable person would discover the notice. Twenty-four hours shall be presumed to be reasonable notice in absence of evidence to the contrary. The notice may be mailed to the tenant. Mailing of the notice at least six days prior to an intended entry is presumed reasonable notice in the absence of evidence to the contrary.
(2) If the purpose of the entry is to exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, the notice may be given orally, in person or by telephone, if the landlord or his or her agent has notified the tenant in writing within 120 days of the oral notice that the property is for sale and that the landlord or agent may contact the tenant orally for the purpose described above. Twenty-four hours is presumed reasonable notice in the absence of evidence to the contrary. The notice shall include the date, approximate time, and purpose of the entry. At the time of entry, the landlord or agent shall leave written evidence of the entry inside the unit.
(3) The tenant and the landlord may agree orally to an entry to make agreed repairs or supply agreed services. The agreement shall include the date and approximate time of the entry, which shall be within one week of the agreement. In this case, the landlord is not required to provide the tenant a written notice.
(e) No notice of entry is required under this section:
(1) To respond to an emergency.
(2) If the tenant is present and consents to the entry at the time of entry.
(3) After the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the unit.
Dissecting this legalese, we note that the reasons for entry are limited in subsection (a). Under you "agree" in your rental agreement to let people in at any time; such a provision in the rental agreement violates this law and is not enforceable. You don't need a reason other than these time restrictions to stop them from coming in, and you don't need to be "reasonable," "flexible," or "understanding." They have to comply, to the letter.
Also note that subsection (c) says that the landlord can't "abuse" this right of entry. There is no exact definition of where that would occur, or how much is too much, but at a minimum, it would be unreasonable to have people coming in every day, to use your home as an open house, put a lockbox on your door, fail to leave their business card when coming through, or fail to supervise the prospective buyers. That is, even when they give you advance notice and come during the proper times for the proper reasons, the law still recognizes the potential for abuse, and your right to stop it. Therefore, the ambiguity in the law works in your favor, because you can declare their entry to be abusive under subsection (c) and thereby stop it.
To summarize: The notice to enter and show the property must
(1) be at least 24 hours in advance [6 days, if mailed],
(2) identify the date and approximate time of entry, which must be normal business hours
(3) state the purpose of the entry
(4) be written [unless a 120 notice was given and has not expired, which then permits telephonic or personal oral notice]
(5) be handed to you, left with a responsible person, put under the front door or mailed [not faxed, on
I hope this is helpful! There are many great buys in the market place right now. There are also some great loan packages as well. Possibly you would qualify for one of them. How about the home you are living in?
Speak with the listing agent to see if you could qualify for it. Or, please contact me and we will discuss the possibilities!
It is very unfortunate right now that over half the homes for sale in Santa Maria are being sold as a short sale. Your landlord however should have cleared it with you that they will be placing the home for sale now and although you do not own the home, most times sellers will give some sort of showing incentive to tenants during this time such as a reduced rent. You can try and work this out with the sellers and tell them that if they want you to be cooparative, to reduce the monthly rent. Let them know that you'll need at least 24 hours notice for any and all showings. This is not unreasonable. The fact of the matter is, the homeowners have stopped making thier mortgage payments...your still paying rent. This could be a bit of a conflict for some tenants and it may be time to begin looking for a new place to live. The realtors who show the home should'nt let any of their clients browse through your things but instead merely walk the interior of the property. Obviously, should you decide to stay, you want to just secure any valuable that you have. As fas as many valuable in your home, think more along the lines of items that people could pocket in the rare event that they would with out their agent knowing. Worry less about the 65'' flat screen and the 6' long antique coffee table.
FYI- Since there are so many vacant short sale homes in santa maria, it may be very rare that you actually receive many showings at all given that the home is still occupied and somewhat difficult to show on short notice.
Have you signed anything agreeing to a lockbox being installed? Check your lease agreement.... there is a section in the standard California Association of Realtors lease agreement that, if checked, allows for a lockbox to be installed. If you have not signed anything technically they cannot force you to have a lockbox. Also, find out if your landlord/owner is in default. If he is not paying the mortgage but you are paying the rent then he is pocketing your rent. It may be grounds to break your lease.
One last thought... you may consider working this to your benefit. Negotiate a lower rent in exchange for accomodating a lockbox. Ofcourse, you would then have to pack away your valuables. But it could save you a significant amount of money for your inevitable move if they do sell.
I hope this helps... best of luck!