Yesterday there was a knock on my door and then I could hear my door being unlocked. Someone was attempting to enter my unit, he had keys so he unlocked the door and deadbolt, but I had the security latch on the door locked so he could only open the door an inch. I asked "Can I help you?" and he said he was an exterminator here about the roaches. I have none and have had no communication from my building about a roach problem and/or an exterminator visit. I told him he had the wrong apartment. He said he was spraying everyone, and I told him I didn't want it and he left.

Had I not had the latch in place and he did enter the apartment, I would like to know if his entry would have been a violation of my lease. My lease says:

14. Right of Access by Landlord. Tenant shall permit reasonable access to Landlord, and any of Landlord’s invitees, agents, or contractors, in accordance with local statues and ordinances, upon receiving 2 days’ notice by mail, telephone, written notice or other means designed in good faith to provide notice. Landlord shall have immediate access to the Premises in case of emergency and where repairs or maintenance elsewhere in the building unexpectedly require such access. Landlord shall give Tenant notice of such entry within two days after such entry.

For the bottom part, do imaginary roaches count as an emergency? Not sure if I should complain about this, if it's not a violation I'm at least irritated about it.

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    Before bringing this any further into the realm of considering a lawsuit, etc, please ensure you know what/where/how the landlord, or management company, performs notifications. It could be possible that buried in paperwork somewhere, you were notified that notifications of this kind (normally needing 2-day warning) are made by posting a notice on some community site or bulletin board. They also may have taped notices on doors, and had those notices removed and destroyed by neighborhood delinquents. Both of these are true for a condo building next to my subdivision.
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Feb 26, 2021 at 15:14

2 Answers 2


Not even real roaches are an emergency. The event was foreseeable and scheduleable. According to the terms of your lease, you are entitled to a 2 day warning. From your description, the landlord did not violate the lease, but he came close to it, perhaps to the point that the courts would consider it as good as a breach. In Chicago, §5-12-050 of the municipal code mandates 2-day notice, and the following section says that

If the landlord makes an unlawful entry or a lawful entry in an unreasonable manner or makes repeated unreasonable demands for entry otherwise lawful, but which have the effect of harassing the tenant, the tenant may obtain injunctive relief to prevent the recurrence of the conduct, or terminate the rental agreement pursuant to the notice provisions of Section 5-12-110(a). In each case, the tenant may recover an amount equal to not more than one month's rent or twice the damage sustained by him, whichever is greater.


It is at least possible that there are quite real roaches elsewhere in the building, and the landlord was advised to have everywhere sprayed to reduce the chance that unnoticed colonies would lead to re-infestation. The landlord might honestly have thought this was an "emergency". It is certainly not in the same class as a leaking gas pipe that endangers everyone, leaking water that threatens the structure of the building, or is affecting others at the moment, or a fire. Those are emergencies requiring instant access, with no delay for notification. Here the landlord could and, I would think, should have given some notice. He could also have provided the exterminator with some evidence that she was authorized, beyond a key. such as a letter from the management or landlord.

You might want to reach out to the landlord or management. For one thing, it would be well to make sure that the exterminator was in fact authorized. (If not, there is a serious problem.) If you don't want to make it a formal complaint, this security issue provides an excuse for discussing the matter. One could point out that prior notice is essential, or at least highly advisable, to ensure that the tenant knows that the exterminator is in fact authorized.

You might also want to check just how the landlord is supposed to give notice, or what the usual practice is. A comment mentions posting on a community board, or posting notices on doors. It is possible that the landlord gave, or attempted to give, notice, but the tenant did not receive it. "Written notice or other means" covers a broad range of possibilities. Ask the management just what they actually do.

  • In addition to using the potential security issue as an excuse to bring this up, the OP could make the argument that prior notification from the landlord is necessary so that OP knows the landlord is authorized. Commented Feb 27, 2021 at 20:23
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    @ Nonny You mean so that the tenant knows that the exterminator is authorized? Yes indeed. Commented Feb 27, 2021 at 20:26
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    That's what I meant. Wish we could edit comments later. Commented Feb 27, 2021 at 21:21

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