My landlord wants to inspect my unit, but I don't want him to.
Updated: Mar 23
The English judge and jurist Sir Edward Coke declared in a ruling known as Semayne's Case: domus sua cuique est tutissimum refugium - which roughly translates from Latin to English as "every man's home is his castle." Now, this case is almost 400 years old but the message behind it still applies: everyone's home really is their castle and should be as free from disturbances as possible.
But does that allow a tenant to deny their landlord entry to a unit, especially if the landlord followed the process outlined in the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA)? Unfortunately, it does not.
The RTA specifically contemplates a landlord's right to enter a rental unit in section 29, which states as follows:
Landlord's right to enter rental unit restricted
A landlord must not enter a rental unit that is subject to a tenancy agreement for any purpose unless one of the following applies:
the tenant gives permission at the time of the entry or not more than 30 days before the entry;
at least 24 hours and not more than 30 days before the entry, the landlord gives the tenant written notice that includes the following information:
the purpose for entering, which must be reasonable;
the date and the time of the entry, which must be between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. unless the tenant otherwise agrees;
the landlord provides housekeeping or related services under the terms of a written tenancy agreement and the entry is for that purpose and in accordance with those terms;
the landlord has an order of the director authorizing the entry;
the tenant has abandoned the rental unit;
an emergency exists and the entry is necessary to protect life or property.
A landlord may inspect a rental unit monthly in accordance with subsection (1) (b).
As a result of this section, as long as a landlord has issued a notice in writing that complies with section 29(1)(b), you will need to provide access to your unit. Otherwise, a landlord may have 'cause' to evict you.
But what about an email, would that constitute written notice? While the RTA does not specify if it does, if a tenant has filled out an Address for Service form at the beginning of their tenancy, or at any point during their tenancy, there is a good argument that e-mailing a notice of entry by email does constitute written notice.
Of course, if you disagree that email is proper notice but let your landlord into the unit anyway when they show up to do an inspection, even if they have already done an inspection in the past 30 days, then you would have followed section 29(1)(a). Therefore, if you are unsure whether you should allow your landlord entry or not, get in touch with us and we would be happy to give you legal advice about it!