Can My Landlord Do Construction While Occupied

During an ongoing tenancy, a landlord’s ability to conduct construction can be limited. The extent of their authority might differ depending on the specific regulations in your jurisdiction. Ordinarily, landlords are allowed to enter the leased premises to make necessary repairs or improvements but major construction projects may require consent from the tenant based on the lease agreement or local laws. If a landlord wants to do construction while the property is occupied, they usually need to give the tenant proper notice and follow the legal procedure. The notice period may vary and the tenant might have the right to request specific arrangements to minimize disruption during the construction. If the construction causes significant inconvenience or violates the tenant’s peaceful enjoyment of the property, the tenant may have legal remedies such as rent withholding or seeking compensation from the landlord.

Tenants have the right to peaceful enjoyment of their rental units. This means that landlords are generally prohibited from making major repairs or alterations while the unit is occupied. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Landlord’s Right to Make Repairs and Alterations

Landlords have the right to make repairs and alterations to their properties, even if the unit is occupied. However, they must provide the tenant with reasonable notice of the work to be done and must avoid causing any unnecessary disruption to the tenant’s use of the unit.

In general, landlords are only allowed to make repairs and alterations that are necessary to maintain the property or to protect the health and safety of the tenants. This includes things like:

  • Fixing leaky faucets
  • Repairing damaged appliances
  • Replacing worn-out carpets
  • Painting the unit
  • Making energy-efficient improvements
  • Installing security features

Landlords are also allowed to make alterations to the unit if they have the tenant’s consent. For example, a landlord may be able to add a new bathroom or remodel the kitchen if the tenant agrees to the changes.

Tenant’s Rights

Tenants have the right to object to repairs or alterations that are not necessary, that will cause a major disruption to their use of the unit, or that will violate their privacy. If a tenant objects to a repair or alteration, the landlord must either withdraw the request or provide the tenant with a reasonable accommodation.

Tenants also have the right to be reimbursed for any expenses they incur as a result of the repairs or alterations. For example, if a tenant has to move out of the unit while the work is being done, the landlord may be required to pay for the tenant’s moving expenses.

Tenant’s Rights and Landlord’s Obligations
Tenant’s RightsLandlord’s Obligations
To peaceful enjoyment of their rental unitTo provide reasonable notice of repairs and alterations
To object to unnecessary repairs or alterationsTo avoid causing unnecessary disruption to the tenant’s use of the unit
To be reimbursed for expenses incurred as a result of repairs or alterationsTo provide a reasonable accommodation if the tenant objects to the repairs or alterations

If a landlord violates the tenant’s rights, the tenant may be able to take legal action. The tenant may be able to sue the landlord for damages or to have the repairs or alterations stopped.


Notice Requirements for Construction

Many states have specific laws regarding notice requirements for construction when tenants are occupying a premises. These laws vary, but generally, landlords must provide tenants with written notice of any construction or renovations that will be taking place.

The notice should include information about the project, such as the start and end dates, the areas of the property that will be affected, and any expected disruptions to the tenants’ use of the premises.

  • The notice should be given in writing and delivered to the tenant in person, by mail, or by posting it in a conspicuous location on the property.
  • The notice should be given a reasonable amount of time before the construction begins, typically at least 30 days.
  • The notice should be written in clear and concise language that is easy for the tenant to understand.

In some cases, landlords may be required to obtain the tenant’s consent before beginning construction. This is especially true if the construction will significantly impact the tenant’s use of the premises.

If a landlord fails to provide proper notice of construction, the tenant may have the right to file a complaint with the local housing authority or take legal action against the landlord.

StateNotice Requirement
California30 days
New York14 days
Texas7 days

Options for Tenants During Construction

Dealing with construction work while living in a rental property can be challenging. Here are some options to consider:

  • Negotiate with Your Landlord:
    • Discuss the construction plans and express your concerns.
    • Request temporary relocation to another unit or a rent reduction during the construction period.
    • Agree on specific times and days for construction activities to minimize disruption.
  • Stay Informed:
    • Ask your landlord for a detailed construction schedule and updates.
    • Stay informed about potential noise, dust, and access limitations.
  • Plan Your Schedule:
    • Adjust your daily routine to avoid peak construction hours.
    • If possible, work from home or spend time away from the property during construction.
  • Take Safety Precautions:
    • Ensure construction areas are properly barricaded and secure.
    • Keep children and pets away from construction zones.
  • Protect Your Belongings:
    • Cover furniture and belongings to protect them from dust and debris.
    • Consider storing valuable items in a secure location outside the property.
  • Document Issues:
    • Keep records of any damages or inconveniences caused by the construction.
    • Take photos and videos to document the conditions.
Rights and Responsibilities
Tenants’ RightsLandlord’s Responsibilities
Right to a safe and habitable living environmentProvide reasonable notice of construction
Right to quiet enjoyment of the propertyMinimize disruption and inconvenience
Right to privacyRespect tenants’ privacy during construction
Right to request temporary relocation or rent reductionConsider tenants’ requests and negotiate

Well, there you have it, folks! Now you know the ins and outs of dealing with construction while living in a rented space. Before I let you go, don’t forget to check back for our next article, where we’ll be unleashing our top secret tips for avoiding landlord-tenant disputes. Until then, this is your friendly neighborhood housing expert, signing off. See you soon!