March 2014.

Right to Enter Residential Rental Dwelling Units Clarified: Normal Business Hours Can Include Weekends 

Oftentimes a residential tenant will not allow their landlord to enter the premises for legitimate purposes during the weekend
. They claim that according to California Civil Code Section 1954, 
landlords can only enter the premises by serving a notice and entering during “normal business 
hours” unless there is a true emergency that would dispense with notice and the normal business 
hour limit. 

For years, residential landlords and tenants have disputed what constitutes “normal business 
hours”. The Fourth District Court of Appeals recently ruled that at least in some cases, “normal 
business hours” includes weekends. In Dromy v. Lukovsky (2013) 219 Cal.App.4th 278, the 
California Court of Appeal interpreted the meaning of the phrase, "normal business hours" as the 
phrase is used in Civil Code Section 1954, which permits a landlord to enter a tenant's unit under 
certain circumstances and with proper notice. 

In Dromy, the homeowner wanted to sell his tenant-occupied property and began to show the 
property to prospective purchasers over weekends. The tenant refused entry arguing that 
weekends did not constitute "normal business hours". The Court of Appeal held the statutory term 
"normal business hours" per Civil Code Section 1954 means objectively reasonable hours under 
the facts and circumstances of the case, and that the owner and his real estate agent were entitled 
to hold open houses on two weekend afternoons per month with advanced and proper notice to the 

Even though the court limited the number of times the landlord could enter during the weekend, 
they clearly showed that in the real estate industry, weekends are considered “normal business 
hours” especially for showing a residential property to prospective purchasers or tenants. 

The Fourth District Court of Appeal rulings is binding authority in all areas of its jurisdiction which 
includes six southern California counties, San Diego, Imperial, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside 
and Inyo. Properties not located in these counties can use this case as persuasive authority. 

Kimball, Tirey and St. John LLP is a full-service real estate law firm representing residential and commercial 
property owners and managers. This alert is for general information purposes only. Laws may have changed 
since this article was published. Before acting, be sure to receive legal advice from our office. If you have 
questions, please contact your local KTS office. For contact information, please visit our website: www.ktslaw.