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
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 www.thinkglink.com