Landlord wants to show our rental during a pandemic.

I'm writing to see if any of you can assist with some advice on a dilemma we are having with our rental. We are currently looking to move out of our rental in North Berkeley.  Our lease is up June 2021, but we may leave earlier, which the landlord is fine with.  The landlord would like to show the house, but we have 2 toddlers and are in a POD with strict covid-19 protocols.  What rights do we have around the landlord having people come into the house for a showing prior to us moving out? Ideally we would not like anybody to view the house while occupied due to covid-19, but I don't know what our rights are. Any advice would be wonderful.  Thank you!

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Your landlord must notify you at least 24 hours before a showing. Assuming you have a positive relationship, maybe you can propose some mutually convenient times when it would be easier to be out of the house (weekend mornings?) If you know for sure you will be leaving by the end of April but have to pay rent through June anyway, you could propose that the landlord wait to show it until after you move out. But they will need to show it a month or two before the lease start date for the new tenants, especially in the current rental market, so that won't work if you plan to stay through your lease's end or if you are hoping not to pay rent after you leave. You can certainly ask (and the landlord should enforce) that any prospective tenants wear masks, though, and can leave windows open during the visit.

I feel for you. It's sounds like a lot of work to get your kids and partner out of the house--a major inconvenience. Someone else can chime in on the actual rental laws right now, but I did a quick search on a landlord -focused that allows for showings if COVID precautions are taken: only one person in unit at a time, masks, etc. There may be more current restrictions not mentioned here; https://www.bpoa.org/qa.php?pid=12
I guess what I would ask for if I were in your shoes--and Berkeley rent control law doesn't give you more rights than I'm aware of-- would be for the landlord to show the house for a limited period, say 12pm-4pm on a weekend so that you and your family could head to a favorite park for a picnic and not have your work disrupted along with all of the other inconveniences. This is similar to what realtors are doing when a house is being sold, so I'm told by friends.  Good luck and hope it's not too inconvenient. - Sarah

Ask the Rent Board. 

Perhaps you could offer video tours with good candidates to try to minimize who views in person? As someone in the market for a new rental (in North Berkeley ideally!), I would personally be very open to that, from the perspective of a future renter. 

As previously stated, you have the right to 24 hours notice before a showing. But you could negotiate with the property owner. Ask them how much money they would want to put off showings until you move out. For instance, you could let them keep your deposit in exchange for not showing the rental until you move. 

Your answer is on CoB wieb site.

But I think you have the answer.  Your lease ends in June, right?  And you plan on moving out early.  Just pay through June and tell your landlord when you will be out. I would think 30 days would be fair on your part.  Ask your landlord. Sounds like your landlord is already working with you and allowing you.  Sounds like you have a nice landlord.  Or are you trying to break your lease early not paying through the end of the lease?  No clear from your post.  COVID or not, it would be unreasonable for you break the lease and not allow your landlord to show your rental. Remember if your landlord has a new tenant move in while your lease is still in effect the the landlord has to pay you until your lease ends.

Q: Our landlady lives nearby and constantly stops by unannounced.  She seems well meaning, but we really don't want anyone coming over without calling first. What can we do?

I'm not sure what you mean by "stops by." If she enters your apartment without permission or without cause, then she is violating the law. California law states that a landlord can enter a rental unit only for the following reasons: 

  • In an emergency; 
  • When the tenant has moved out or abandoned the unit; 
  • To make necessary or agreed-upon repairs, decorations, alterations, or other improvements; 
  • To show the rental unit to prospective tenants, buyers, or lenders, or 
  • To provide entry to repair persons who are to perform work on the unit; or 
  • Under a court order.

Except in cases of emergency or abandonment, a landlord must give a tenant reasonable advance notice before entering, which is presumed to be 24 hours notice, and can enter only during normal business hours (generally, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays). You have the right to refuse entry if it is not for one of the specified reasons, and if notice is required but not given.

https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Rent_Stabilization_Board/Home/FAQs_Landl...'s%20Rent%20Ordinance%2C%20a,to%20stable%20services%20and%20conditions.&text=Under%20state%20law%20(Civil%20Code,(Civil%20Code%20section%201929).