It may be uncomfortable to contemplate a landlord who can enter your apartment at virtually any time. Nobody loves the idea of providing a stranger with the key to their home.

Unfortunately, landlords usually have a key by default. And if you attempt to circumvent this reality by installing your own lock, you’ll be dealing with New York Multiple Dwelling Law 50-1.

New York Multiple Dwelling Law states you may install your own lock but must provide the landlord with a copy of the key if you do so. If you don’t, the landlord could evict you from your apartment for failing to comply with the law.

Why should your landlord have a key to your New York City apartment?

There are many legitimate reasons why your landlord should have a key to your apartment. For example, your landlord may need to make emergency repairs when you’re not at home.

If you have already given notice, your landlord may also be able to open the apartment and show it to prospective renters.

When may your landlord enter the apartment?

The fact that your landlord has a key does not give them permission to enter your apartment at any time. 

In general, they may only enter when you pre-authorize their entry with a work order, when there is a genuine maintenance emergency such as a burst pipe or a flood, or when it is time to conduct a move-in or move-out inspection. Some landlords also conduct regular inspections, which your lease should cover.

If the landlord is entering for inspections or to show the apartment, they must give you 24 hours’ notice. If they’re entering for non-emergency repairs, they must give you one week’s notice. 

Finally, your landlord may enter your apartment if you have given your landlord reason to believe you have abandoned the unit. 

Is your landlord harassing you?

Landlords who enter apartments for reasons other than these legal, legitimate reasons are committing harassment and may be subject to legal penalties. 

Our firm can help you take your landlord to Housing Court. If you prevail in court, the judge can order the landlord to stop harassing you and may assess civil penalties ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. 

The balance of power may seem to favor landlords, but tenants have rights. Need help with landlord harassment? Contact McAdams Law today.

See also:

5 Forms of Landlord Harassment

In New York, When Can Landlords Enter a Tenant’s Home?

New York Slumlord Must Pay $8 Million to Former Tenants

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