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What is a Right of Entry?

Kay Paddock
Kay Paddock

The definition of right of entry can mean a few different things, depending on the situation. It can mean a person's right to take real property that legally belongs to him, as long as it is done in a way that doesn't break the law. This term can also refer to the right of a foreigner to enter into a state, nation, or other jurisdiction as a journalist or student, or for another acceptable purpose. In most cases, it means the right of a landlord or other individual to enter a property without committing trespass.

In the case of real property that needs to be reclaimed, right of entry often must come with a court order. For instance, someone providing real estate for a specific reason might seek right of entry if the land is used for something else instead. Conveying land for a certain purpose in this way generally requires a fee simple determinable, which binds the grantee, or the person using the land, to use it for the purpose outlined in the document.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Under such circumstances, the grantor or owner of the property can reclaim it with right of entry if the conditions of the agreement are not met. For example, if land is to be used for building a strip mall and the contractor decides to build a grocery store instead, the grantor may reclaim the property.

In cases of landlord right of entry, the renter and landlord must abide by the lease. This document should very clearly specify when the landlord may come onto or into the property. In most cases, there will be a time period given in which a landlord must notify a leaseholder before entering the dwelling. If maintenance is planned, for instance, an owner might have to notify the tenant of the need for access, within a certain number of days ahead of time.

Unless the real estate leasing agreement states otherwise, a landlord may enter the property when the renter isn't home, as long as prior notice is given. When the owner comes on the property in this way, he is protected by right of entry against accusations of trespassing. There are a variety of reasons why a landlord might need access. Most of these are usually listed in the rental documents, and often the owner can discuss other reasons with the renter.

There are some situations in which prior notice is impossible to give. In an emergency, a property owner might need access without giving the renter advanced warning. Right of entry usually protects the owner from trespassing charges in such a case, even if the lease doesn't make it clear that emergency entry is a possibility. Situations like this might include a sudden plumbing leak that must be stopped, a fire, or the belief that someone is in danger. Right of entry is a part of real property law that can protect real estate owners if this type of situation arises.

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