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My landlord wants me to vacate for a 'bank inspection.' Does this mean he's planning to sell?

By Alanna Schubach | June 6, 2022 - 1:30PM

You shouldn't have to leave, but it may make sense to cooperate if you plan on staying.

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Question:

My landlord asked me to be out of my apartment for a few hours next week for an 'inspection.' When I pressed for more details, I found out his bank is doing the inspection. Can he ask me to stay out and does this mean he is planning to sell?

Answer:

Check your lease, because it likely allows your landlord to access your apartment, but you should have the right to be there, too, our experts say.

"While most leases provide a landlord with the right to access an apartment with reasonable prior notice, it would be very unusual for the lease to require the tenant to leave the apartment during the landlord’s access," says Jeffrey Reich, a partner in the law firm of Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas. "You should advise the landlord that you will provide access but that you will in fact be present for any inspection of the apartment."

The fact that he's asking you to vacate for a bank inspection does indicate he may have major plans for the building. 

"A bank inspection usually means the landlord is either selling, or refinancing and trying to get another mortgage," says Sam Himmelstein, a lawyer who represents residential and commercial tenants and tenant associations (and FYI, a Brick sponsor). "What's odd is that he wants you out of the apartment. He probably can't require it—most leases have broad access provisions for landlords, but you have the right to be present when a third party is coming into the apartment." 

The question is whether it's worthwhile to push back. It may make sense to cooperate with your landlord's wishes, even if he can't legally compel you to leave for the inspection. Arguing about this could lead to some tension, Himmelstein points out, which could make your landlord less inclined to renew your lease. And if he is in fact just refinancing the mortgage, or selling the building to new management, you might otherwise be able to stay put in your apartment. 


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