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While there are many different reasons as to why police officers may want to conduct searches on rental properties, such as looking for drugs, criminals, etc., this doesn’t mean that they can simply enter someone’s home whenever they wish to do so unless they have a warrant signed by a judge.

This also applies to landlords who own the rental property itself. Landlords cannot simply allow police to enter rental properties to conduct searches. The police may only do so if one or more of the following three stipulations apply:

  • A search may be conducted in a property without a warrant if the current tenant gives the police permission to enter.
  • A search may be conducted in a property by the police if they have a warrant signed by a judge. In this instance, the tenant does not need to give permission to police to conduct the search.
  • Police are permitted to enter a property without permission from the tenant if they have reason to believe that there is an imminent form of danger. This can include something such as sounds of serious fighting, calls for help, or hearing gunshots coming from inside the property.

In other words, unless one or more of these stipulations apply, police are not permitted to enter an occupied rental property to conduct a search, especially if they do not have a signed warrant. Additionally, landlords are not permitted to give consent to police to search an occupied rental property – this is something that can only be done by a tenant who is listed on the lease agreement.

On the other hand, if the police show up with a signed search warrant, the landlord and tenant will have no choice but to grant them entry to the rental property. This is also the case if the tenant is not home at the time.

In terms of whether or not landlords can conduct searches on an occupied rental property, this actually depends on the state in which you reside. Typically, landlords are required to provide a specific amount of notice before they enter an occupied rental property for any kind of non-emergency situation, inspection, repair work, usually a minimum of 24 hours.

Thank you for visiting the Jarvis, Garcia, & Erskine blog. We write to inform Austin locals about law changes, events and news.