Q. I am a college student in upstate New York, and I am renting a house with seven others. The landlord sends in maintenance workers without notifying all of us. Is this legal? I feel extremely uncomfortable having these men in my house without prior notice.
A. David A. Kaminsky, a Manhattan real estate lawyer, said that “since the premises are not a multiple dwelling, there are no New York statutes that directly control this issue.”
He noted that the letter writer did not say whether there is a written lease that addresses the issue of access to the apartment.
Usually, Mr. Kaminsky said, a lease has a “covenant of quiet enjoyment.” This entitles the tenant to enjoy the premises without disturbance by the landlord as long as the rent is being paid. “If there is no lease, courts have held that an implied covenant of quiet enjoyment exists.”
On the other hand, “typical lease clauses allow landlords reasonable access for purposes of maintenance, showing the premises to prospective tenants and/or buyers and other appropriate reasons,” he said.
“If there is no lease, or no requirement in a lease that requires a landlord to give advance notice, then as long as the entry is reasonable and for a legitimate purpose, there is no prohibition against the landlord’s actions,” he said.
As for the issue of notifying all the tenants, Mr. Kaminsky said that only those who are named on the lease must be given notices.