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As a general rule, a California landlord has the right to enter a rental property. However, there may be criteria that must be met before the landlord actually enters a given home or apartment. For instance, the reason for entry must be related to maintaining the unit or otherwise ensuring that it meets health and safety standards. Landlords may also enter if given the ability to do so by a court.

Entry must occur during an hour deemed to be reasonable. As a guideline, a landlord should plan to visit a home or apartment between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. In some cases, it may be possible to enter a premises earlier in the morning or later at night if a tenant agrees. However, landlords may generally enter a premises at any time if it is an emergency situation such as a flood or a fire.

Except for emergency situations, a landlord must provide 24 hours notice to a tenant before entering a premises. It may be a good idea for landlords to announce their presence and the reason for entering whether a visit was planned or an emergency situation. Tenants may not change locks without permission, and they must provide the landlord with a new set of keys if they do get permission to change them.

While a residential landlord may have the right to ensure that his or her property remains in good condition, a tenant may have rights as well. Violating those rights may result in the loss of a tenant or paying damages to that person. An attorney may be able to answer any questions a landlord may have or assist in resolving a dispute with a tenant. This may allow a dispute to be resolved in a timely and reasonable manner.