California laws try to balance a landlord’s right to enter a rental property and a tenant’s right to privacy. When the rental home includes an active alarm system, a tenant might wonder whether the landlord has a right to the alert code. Since there are different situations surrounding alarm systems on rental properties, so it is a good idea to explore landlord and tenant rights prior to signing the rental arrangement.
Landlord Right to Enter
California laws limit when a landlord can enter an occupied rental property to only four reasons, as summarized in Civil Code 1954. First of all, a landlord can enter the unit when a tenant gives consent. He also can enter at any given time in the event of an emergency, such as a broken water heater. He can input the unit during regular business hours after giving reasonable notice so as to make repairs or to give access to care professionals. Finally, the landlord can enter to show the property to prospective renters after giving reasonable notice and putting the appointment during regular business hours. Twenty-four hours written or verbal notice is deemed reasonable in California.
Applicable Rules for Entry
If the landlord follows the proper notification procedure, the tenant cannot refuse entry or order the terms of entrance, according to Project Sentinel, a housing counseling agency in California. The landlord legally is permitted to safeguard the right to enter the unit by either keeping a copy of the keys or asking the tenant to supply keys. If a tenant fails to allow the landlord access to the rental property, then the landlord may enter lawfully anyhow. If the tenant fails to make reasonable accommodations to permit the landlord to enter, the tenant is responsible for any costs incurred.
False Alarm Fines
A alarm system won’t limit a landlord’s entry to a rental unit because he already has keys to access the property. But a triggered alarm can lead to a disruption to neighbors and could violate noise nuisance ordinances for town. Also, unless the tenant leaves off the alert or provides the landlord with the code, the alarm will activate a response from emergency responders. Certain cities in California impose penalties for excessive false alarms, and the tenant could face a variety of effects from warnings to fines.
If the alarm system already is installed prior to the tenant moves in, the neighbor already will have the alert code. The rental agreement might specify that the tenant isn’t permitted to change the code or that the tenant should provide the code if changed. Lease agreements typically prohibit tenants from making any changes, additions or improvements to the rental property, including adding alert systems. Tenants who want to install an alarm system should get written permission from the landlord first. At that moment, tenants can discuss alarm code accessibility together with the neighbors and come to some mutual arrangement.