Profile picture for 7seventeen

What are the renter's rights when the owner puts the house on the market with a realtor?

In the summer, we signed a 12 month lease to rent a house, which had been languishing on the market for 18 months. I had not yet relocated and did not see the wording on the lease was such that despite it being a 1 year lease, should the house sell, we would have to vacate within 30 days, lease or no lease. My boyfriend claims the realtor at the time said the 1 year would trump all, and we could stay to the end of the lease-- which doesn't seem to be the case now. That is all well and good, but my question really pertains to the realtor showing the house. We are uneasy about strangers entering the home when we're not here-- largely because of our dog. I don't want to leave her in a cage all day just *in case* someone wants to see the property, nor do I want anyone trying to handle the dog to take her outside, etc. I am afraid of her getting out of the front door, the yard, biting someone, and confining her to a room with a baby gate would not work because she will throw herself at it if a stranger is in the house. She has a chronic serious back injury and this could really aggravate it. I want to be reasonable and work with the realtor on this issue but she seems adamant that we not be called, not be near the property, and leave the dog to her. Ideally, I would be contacted, and head over from work (just 7 minutes away) and either take the dog on a walk or a drive around the neighborhood. She made a point to say they can't be liable if someone should happen to damage or steal anything in the house... I understand that, but feel if she's so careful to say that, I need to be just as careful about ensuring my dog is safe (and anyone she may like to bite!). I may not own this house but I own everything in it. What can I do?
  • April 07 2010 - US
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Answers (6)

Profile picture for sunnyview
The realtor lied when they said that the 1 year lease somehow trumped the other clause in the contract. As for the showings, you need to refuse them without notice. Notice is not a lock box on the house and owners in most states must give you legal notice about when they plan to enter BEFORE they enter. Generally, that means if you have tenants that you give them 24-48 hours notice of when you will be coming if it is a non emergency. A showing is NOT an emergency.

The realtor knows that she must give you notice, but she is hoping that you don't know. As a tenant, you have the right to legal enjoyment of the property. Intrusive unscheduled showings impede your right to both privacy and enjoyment as a rent paying tenant. You can give the realtor days or times that they can show it like after 5 or Saturdays 10-12. You can give them a window to call for a showing like a phone call before 9AM with a specific time that the house will be shown. Put in writing thatit is not safe to enter the house with the dog and that the dogs health condition does not allow it.  That means if the dog is in the house, the house will not be shown. Period. Make sure and also request in writing that NO lock box is put on the house to keep your valuables safe and you dog in good health. Also make sure and log ALL showings by email to the agent with a bcc back to yourself. Keep everything in writing at this point to make sure that if you need to move early because the agent breaks the rules or makes you tenancy miserable with multiple showings day or night that you have proof to take to court to break the lease without a penalty. 
  • April 07 2010
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Profile picture for 7seventeen
Thanks so much-- notice is literally ALL we are asking for, but she basically reacted as though it was unheard of. Like you said: it's not an emergency, but she says that she often has "5 minute notice" and simply cannot waste time, etc. She said it just wasn't conventional. I'd like to counter that I see "By Appointment Only" signs on realty signs all the time. I moved to Louisiana from NYC where we had very strict laws protecting tenants, and here, I really don't know what legal rights I have, and it's hard to find online...

Do you know exactly--here on this site or elsewhere--I can find it in writing about legal notice regarding showings, or refusing a lockbox?  The latter she's already hooked to a bench on our porch, awaiting a key.
  • April 07 2010
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You have the right to limit the showings of the property.

If you don't want a lock box on your front door, You don't have to have one on your home, and then tell the "realtor"

You have the right to tell the realtor that you want to be present during all showings.

You have the right to a 24 hour notice to show

5 minute notices are bull$itt


Don't allow a "professional" a-hole to bully you.
  • April 07 2010
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PS Tell the "professional" the remove the lock box fron the front of the home, tell her that YOU will take posession of the lockbox and put it out when you have recieved at least a 24 hour notice to show.

If she in anyway does not comply, file a complaint against her with the local board of realtors., prior to calling/notifying her broker.

Local fair employment and housing is another county law that will support you.

  • April 07 2010
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Profile picture for sunnyview
I am floored. Louisiana has not set number of days on how much notice must be given by the owner to enter. See here. You can find a pdf with all tenant landlord law for Louisiana here. All it says on notice is that the landlord must give "adequate notice" without saying what that is. You can ask an attorney in Louisiana here what that is in your state. I would stick to the 24 hours or at least 12 hours notice as reasonable. 5 minutes is not reasonable.

I cannot stress this enough, but do everything in writing at this point and stop talking to these people on the phone. In LA, everything must be in writing. Make your request in writing to tell them that you require written legal notice before they enter. Tell them the you will work with them but have to make arrangements for your dog so you need 12 hours notice minimum. Tell them to take the lock box off or you will be forced to have it removed since it is not mentioned as a condition of your lease. Stand your ground this LA realtor thinks your a NY rube. It is the South so be polite but say in writing how you would like them to notify you for showings and when. 
  • April 08 2010
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Profile picture for ThelmaIsaiah
sunnyview good thinking and well written that's a wonderful one. [Hotlink and promotion removed by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy for more information.]
  • May 08 2013
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