4

So I just moved in to an apartment complex, I have historically always rented from private persons and they usually have been houses, but I was new to the Austin, TX area and needed to get my family established.

So we just signed a lease with them 3 weeks ago and to my surprise I get a notice about tomorrow we are doing quarterly inspections. I felt like I was in a movie about guards tossing the cells.

There was no discussion about this, during the signing of the lease and if they snuck it in the lease I would be surprised because I did read through the lease.

I do not feel comfortable about somebody coming to my home to do an "inspection". What is this all about as I am new to this state? Honestly, unless they got a warrant I don't want anybody walking in my home. What is a general rule of thumb here, since my understanding is my relationship begins and ends with this document called a lease. If its not in there, I don't have to oblige.

This is the response I got from management:

The purpose of quarterly inspections is to show that we are maintaining standard upkeep of your home. It is industry standard so as to ensure (and to show record of) the proper condition, of your HVAC unit, smoke detectors, water heater, balcony and fire extinguisher. The inspection should take no longer than a couple of minutes. We upload and keep an electronic record that all units were inspected during each quarterly inspection. I have attached a preventative maintenance form so you can better understand what we are inspecting (this is the form we use during our inspections). I hope this sheds some light on this process.

  • 2
    We would need to see the lease. I would expect there to be wording about Landlord may visit the premises with 24 hours notice (or similar) or in case of an emergency. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Dec 19 '18 at 9:21
  • 2
    @MartinBonner Texas law is also relevant, of course. Many if not most US states have a landlord-tenant law that places limits on lease provisions; these often have stronger protections for residential tenants. But those protections vary widely depending on the state and, sometimes, the municipality. – phoog Dec 19 '18 at 12:58
  • 2
    It appears that Texas law is silent on the matter, so the lease controls, and that Texas courts have held that a landlord cannot enter without a tenant's consent (presumably except in cases of emergency). If there's nothing in the lease (including terms incorporated by reference to another document, for example house rules or the like) then probably you haven't consented to quarterly inspections and may be able to withhold consent. You should probably talk to a lawyer before doing that, or at least to a tenants' rights group. – phoog Dec 19 '18 at 13:39
  • 3
    Hourly inspections would be a violation of the implied covenant giving you the right to "quiet enjoyment" of your property. Annual inspections are not (the house I rent out is required by law to have an annual inspection of the gas system, and we also need to service the ventilation system annually). My guess is that quarterly inspections are going to be OK too. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Dec 19 '18 at 16:35
  • 1
    "industry standard": I've never rented a residence in Texas, but it has certainly not been the policy in any place I've rented in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Indiana, or Connecticut. Their explanation seems reasonable enough to please a court, however. If I were you I might try to get them to agree to perform the inspections only in my presence. – phoog Dec 19 '18 at 17:57
4

In Texas, if the lease states that the landlord can inter for some purpose, the landlord can enter for that purpose. I assume there is no statement in the lease. Then the landlord has no right to enter except in emergencies and for routine inspections or repair. This right, however, stems from the courts and not statutes, and you could theoretically sue the landlord to prevent such an inspection (you would need a good attorney, to overcome the presumption that reasonable routine inspections with notice are allowed).

  • 4
    I have rented apartments and houses in MI, NJ, and MD. In each case there was a provision in the lease for inspection by landlord with reasonable notice (usually 24 hrs). In both NJ and MD the law required such inspections at least once a year. with a report to a state agency. If there is a provision for such in your lease, or in TX law you have no choice. If not, you may be able to refuse. But this is not an unusual provision. – David Siegel Dec 19 '18 at 18:11
  • 1
    I want to thank all of you. I ended up letting the maintenance guys in. It took less than 5 minutes and they were polite and considerate, but you know I am not one to just give up my rights for convenience so I appreciate the active responses, it was very educational and I now know what questions to ask in a future apartment complex although I think I will go back to renting from private persons and the problems that comes with. I figure they can only afford no more than one attorney, compared to a corporation and the lease is not a manual of a document. – Daniel Dec 19 '18 at 18:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.