Foreclosure in 93454>Question Details

Diego, Other/Just Looking in Santa Maria, CA

HELP! The house my wife and I are renting is being short-saled. Last week the landlord called us and told us

Asked by Diego, Santa Maria, CA Mon Jun 30, 2008

they HAVE to put a key-lock on the door so other realtors can show the property, something we do not like to be done while we're not home. We have accomodated the realtor showing the house many times already. My question is this: If the house is NOT being foreclosed, do they have a right to put a key-lock on the door and show the house when we're not there? Does this also apply to a house that IS being foreclosed? We have many valuables in our home and just do not feel comfortable with people browsing through our home. Any advice is greatly appreciated. thanks!

Help the community by answering this question:


Besides reviewing the terms of your lease, also be aware of the Civil code regarding tenant/landlord rights, specifically, this section:

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:

§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
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 30, 2008
Yes read your lease agreement. If you want to call the shots then buy a house. Request a phone call first, I'm sure they will call first.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 7, 2009
You do not have to show your home you can counter subject to Loan Approval, ect. For information on how I can asssist you on purchasing your home as a short sale / foreclosure call 714-716-9636 or email me for more assist in this.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 2, 2008
As long as the sellers still own the home (has not been forclosed on), they can list and sell the home even if it is being considered as a short sale. A short sale is a possible sale of a home before foreclosure. The lender agrees to take less for the loan of record because going into foreclosure actually costs the lender more in the long run. You might review your rental agreement you entered into with the seller of the property (owner of record), and see if that agreement gives the seller the right to have a locbox on the property for REALTOR's use. Also the listing agent can program the locbox so that showings can occur only during certain hours. There should also be a stipulation in the MLS information to call you first before using the locbox. If I were you, I would place any valuables in storage, or a safety deposit box at your bank.
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!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
To add to Linda's comment about valuables: It would be best to lock up or hide jewelry, cash, and prescription medications. If you have small things (fits in a pocket), pack them away. Best of luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 30, 2008

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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 30, 2008
Hi Diego,

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!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 30, 2008
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