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mtnhiker

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 
I'm a landlord in RI.  Every time i drive past my property or I'm there to fix or do something, I notice violations of the lease.  
My question is - if I'm there to paint something or have something serviced, do I have the right to access all the spaces??  For instance, if I've allowed 1 cat per the lease, but I can clearly hear more cats than that (and see 3 litter boxes, let's say), am I allowed to check all the spaces to see what's going on?  These tenants have had 5 different lease violations - 4 cats, motorcycles, and a "project car" in the yard.  The place is filthy too.  They are now trying to control my access - using video cams and saying they need specific notice of which rooms I need to enter.  They installed a keyed lock on a bedroom door after I found 4 cats in the house.  Installing locks is also not allowed per the lease. I don't trust these folks at all now.  Do I have to give them notice of an inspection after giving them a notice of noncompliance?  It seems to defeat the purpose - if I give them 48 hrs they have plenty of time to hide the cats.
Tenant also seems to think that if i'm painting something (which is a 3 day project at least!) that I need to give them multiple 48 hrs notice if it rains day 2 of my project.  I don't think so...!  I think if I've initially given you 48 hrs notice and it's rainy or wet and I don't return for a few days, I don't repeatedly give you 48 hrs notice to finish what I started.
Today they sent me a lawyers letter mentioning that they have the 'right' to have unwired video cams monitoring me, and implying that I'm going there to snoop on them, and not giving notice, which isn't true.  After the 5 violations, but before the notice of noncompliance, I gave them then option to break their lease and move out on 60 days notice.  they said they intend to stay.
I think people who are this paranoid probably have a lot hide.  I cannot wait until their lease is up!
LLinVA

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Posts: 216
Reply with quote  #2 
You will have to do a little digging for local and state law, but I would think you would at least have access to all reasonable spaces. Fixing a loose door handle doesn't justify snooping into every other room in the place (how a judge might see it). However, if you are doing what you need to and can easily see violations, that's different.

If you see one cat and hear at least one more, document it. Multiple litter boxes doesn't prove anything, it just means their cat is picky and if they don't have multiple or boxes clean one out every hour, their cat goes elsewhere in the house, and they were only looking out for the big mean landlord's property, Mr. Judge. If you see a prohibited lock, document it. It is up to you if it is worth evicting them over these violations. In Virginia, they would get 20 days to correct the problems and then you are starting from scratch, it's not usually worth it. I would document as much as you can so that you have the ammo needed later. 

As for notices, I could see it going either way. At the very least, I would notify them when it is a rainy day. If they go to court claiming you entered unlawfully and you show you gave an original notice and then updated them as needed via email, a judge would probably agree that they knew you were coming and that it was all reasonable. Otherwise, you can give a longer notice, instead of 'On Monday and Tuesday', you might say 'Over the next two weeks, exact days may vary due to weather'. 
72and86

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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #3 
Makes me wonder, if they're so paranoid about your presence, what they're really doing in your property... That would raise some red flags with me.
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