When can an owner “lawfully” enter a rental unit without written Notice of Entry?
When is written Notice of Entry required prior to an owner “lawfully” entering a rental unit?
What constitutes proper written Notice of Entry.”
A landlord’s right to enter his/her rental property is set forth in Civil Code section 1954, and may be modified by terms of the written lease agreement.
Right of Entry – without notice.
Civil Code section 1954(e) provides that a landlord may only enter a rental unit without written Notice of Entry under the following limited circumstances:
1. To respond to an emergency (i.e. fire, flood or emergency repair);
2. Tenant is present and consents to the entry (i.e. agreement);
3. Tenant has (a) abandoned or (b) surrendered the rental unit.
4. The Landlord obtains a Court Order for possession.

Right of Entry – with written notice.
Civil Code section 1954(a) provides that 24-hour prior written Notice of Entry is required before a landlord can “lawfully” enter a rental unit for the following reasons:
1. To make necessary and/or agreed upon repairs or improvements;
2. To show the rental unit to prospective tenants
3. To show the rental to lenders, appraisers or contractors;
4. For a pre-move out walk-through to evaluate damage at tenant’s request.
Contents of “Written Notice of Entry.”
Civil Code 1954(c) requires that the landlord’s written Notice of Entry contain the following information:
1. Name of Tenant
2. Address of Rental Unit
3. Date of Proposed Entry
4. Time of Proposed Entry
5. Purchase of Proposed Entry.
The written Notice of Entry must be served to the tenant at least 24 hours prior to the Date of Proposed Entry.
Service of “Written Notice of Entry.”
The written Notice of Entry may be served in any of the following manners:
1. Personally delivered to the Tenant;
2. Personally delivered to someone over 18 years old at the Premises;
3. Left “on, near or under” the usual entry door in a manner most likely to be discovered by the tenant.
Alternatively, the landlord can mail the written notice to the tenant. If mailed, then the landlord must be able to show that he/she mailed the notice at least six (6) days prior to the Date of Proposed Entry.
California law does not presently allow for e-mail Notice of Entry. 120 Day Notice of Entry to Show Property to Prospective Purchasers.
Special notice rules apply when the landlord is selling the rental unit. Those special rules are found in Civil Code section 1954(d)(2) which states as follows:
“If the purpose of the entry is to exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, the notice may be given orally, in person or by telephone, if the landlord or his or her agent has notified the tenant in writing within 120 days … that the property is for sale and that the landlord or agent may contact the tenant orally for the purpose described above.”
In other words, landlord can send a “120 Day Notice of Entry” immediately upon listing the rental unit for sale. Landlord may then simply give the tenant 24 hours oral or written notice that the rental unit will be shown to a prospective buyer. Landlord or the agent must then leave a business card after each visit during that 120 day period.

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