Rent Coach

Rent Coach: Landlords can come in, but you deserve notice; shared driveway rights and wrongs

By Mike Akerly  | September 29, 2011 - 10:22AM

Q. I live in a 19th century building in the Village and my landlord recently informed the tenants that some work needed to be done to bring the building to code.  Off and on for months now, there have been contractors in the building, inspectors in my apartment, and my super escorting workers everywhere. 

At first I wanted to be helpful, but it’s really become an inconvenience.  Do I have to allow my landlord access to my apartment to do all of this?

A. Most leases dictate that a landlord may enter your apartment with reasonable notice to take care of necessary repairs or maintenance, or without notice in an emergency. 

So yes, you must grant your landlord access to your apartment to do work necessary to bring it up to code.  That said, it sounds like most of the work you’re describing would require that you be given some sort of notice. 

Speak with your landlord and super and let them know that you would like 24 hours notice or more before they expect to enter your unit.  You might also ask that they work with you to create a convenient schedule given that this seems to be an ongoing project requiring your cooperation.  

Q. I share a driveway with my landlord, who accidentally blocked my car with hers for two days while she was out of town.  I missed a day of work, but more importantly, I would like to find a way to resolve this in the future.  Can I insist that we all park our cars in the rear of the house so as never to block the driveway?

A. It sounds like a reasonable request, assuming there is enough room for all of your cars and easy access to everyone’s home.  Your lease may have a provision regarding parking which you may want to refer to before speaking with her. 

Keep in mind though, that this is something your landlord should work out for you as a courtesy, as it is not for a tenant to create the rules and regulations for a rental property. 

In these situations you often get more with honey than vinegar, so I would not insist on your suggestion being implemented, but rather suggest that you would appreciate it if you could come to an amicable solution. 


Mike Akerly is a New York City real estate attorney, landlord, and real estate broker. Rent Coach also appears in AM New York's Thursday real estate section.


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