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Renters Refuse Landlord's Access

Ask the Real Estate Lawyer: Real Estate Law Q&A

REM # LAW 751

By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin

Summary: A ThinkGlink reader is renting out their home. The current tenants will not allow him access to the home to show to potential buyers. Ilyce and Sam give the homeowner some tips for working with his tenants.

Q: I rented out my house last year. I gave the tenants a two-year rental agreement with a six-month option to purchase the property. I then extended the option for six more months.
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The problem is that the tenants are unable to qualify for a mortgage. I informed them I was going to sell the house and I was going to start showing it. The tenants then told me that they will not allow anybody to look in the house and that if I tried to show it they would have me arrested for trespassing. What can I do to protect my interest and sell my home?

A: Take a look at your lease. Many leases specifically allow a landlord access to a home to show the premises either to re-rent or sell the property.

If your lease does not provide access to you to show the property, you will need to talk to a real estate attorney in your area to find out if local custom or law allows a landlord the right to access the home for those purposes. If local custom or law gives you that right, you might have to force the tenants to allow you to show the home.

However, forcing tenants to give you access is a double edge sword. You may get the access, but the house may show terribly. If the tenants keep a messy home, buyers may be turned off from buying the home or even dealing with the tenants.

Your best bet is to try to work with the tenants, their schedule and their concerns, to get them to give you access to the home from time to time when the place looks its best.

Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022 or contact them through Ilyce’s website




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