Why Would I Want Anyone Showing the House I’m Living In?
So, your lease is ending and with your target date to move out approaching in less than 30 days, your landlord is telling you they want to show your home to potential new tenants. When you tell them you’re too busy to accommodate any showings and you don’t want anyone in your home when you’re not there, they tell you they have the legal right to enter and show your home — no matter what you say! You’re thinking what’s up with this? What happened to your legal rights for the peaceful enjoyment of your home?
Well, in Michigan, a tenant is legally required to cooperate with their landlord’s reasonable request(s) to enter their home. Most leases also contain a clause that allows landlords to show the rental home during the last XX days of the lease. So, not cooperating may be a violation of the terms of your lease and the law. Your landlord may legally be able to just give you a reasonable 24-hour notice and still enter.
What’s up with all this? Well, let’s take a minute and look at this from the landlord’s perspective for better understanding.
Landlords invested in a rental home for one simple reason – to make money. Landlords only get money when a rental home is occupied by a paying tenant, which is never going to happen when the home is vacant! So, landlords want to minimize the amount of time a rental home is vacant. In a landlord’s perfect world, a new tenant moves in the day after you move out. The only way to get this to happen is to show the home to prospective new tenants while you’ve still in it. This is precisely why they usually put a clause in their leases that gives them the legal right to show the home the last XX days of a lease. Think of it in another way, while most tourists rent hotel rooms based solely on internet pictures or less, would you rent a home you never walked through?
So, now that you heard the reason your landlord wants to show your home while you’re still living in it, hopefully, you can work something out with your landlord that works for both of you.
How About a “Nuclear” Deterrent?
Even though the law is on the side of the landlord when it comes to showing your home, of course you can scheme all sorts of nasty ways to sabotage their showing efforts and get even with them:
Negative Feedback: you could tell everyone potential tenant your landlord brings through your home every negative thing about the home and the landlord you can think of. Surely, after one or two times of this, your landlord will get the message and stop the showings! More likely, you’ll be served with an eviction notice, and even though you’re moving anyways, do you want this as a legal record against you?
A Terrible 1st Impression: you could also stop cleaning, let dishes pile up in the sink, garbage pails overflow, etc., so the home looks as unappealing a place to call home as possible. Well, this may be a violation of the terms of your lease and again result in an unpleasant eviction notice.
Dog on the Premises: while this sounds like a sure-fire way to thwart any potential showings, your landlord may be within their legal rights to contact the local animal control and have your dog removed. Then you’d have to spend money bailing out your pooch from the pound.
There are many more ways to screw with your landlord to avoid showings, but hopefully, you get the general idea that pursuing this course of action may lead to your landlord one-upping you, with legal consequences for you. Also, since not cooperating with showings may lead to loss of income for your landlord, they may be entitled to legally charge something against your security deposit.
Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?
Most people are actually reasonable most of the time. So, the best way to deal with this whole showing situation is to contact your landlord and work out something that works for both of you.
We highly recommend working out a standard weekly schedule, so your landlord knows the timeslots they can schedule potential showings and you’ve got a general idea of when these showings are likely to occur. Don’t forget to take into consideration that potential tenants work all different kinds of hours, so timeslots in the morning, afternoon, evening (but before 9pm) and weekend should be agreed to. Both parties should also agree on at least a 24-hour confirmation that a showing will happen on one of these agreed upon timeslots, so you aren’t putting your life on hold and no one shows up. Just understand that unfortunately, a decent percentage of prospective tenants fail to cancel and stand everyone up – wasting you and your landlord’s time.
Since interrupting your life for these showings is a pain, consider asking your landlord for a reasonable “perk” in exchange for your cooperation. Maybe they’ll agree to return your security deposit in less time than the 30 days Michigan law allows or reward you with a small gift card? To get an additional incentive out of your landlord (by saving them time), you could even volunteer to do the showings yourself! Just don’t be greedy, so try to keep it a win-win for both of you.