A friend was complaining again about the janitor (=landlord’s agent) in her apartment complex entering her apartment without prior notification. He would knock, open the door, yell hello and walk in. His most recent unannounced visit occurred when she was just getting out of the shower. She had to scream to the janitor not to come in. Her bathroom is next to her apartment’s front entrance, and she needed to get to her bedroom to put on some clothes. I reminded her that Evanston had a Landlord and Tenant ordinance that addressed her situation.

According to the City of Evanston Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance

However, the Ordinance under (A) states: “The tenant shall not reasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter the dwelling unit in order to inspect the premises, make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations or improvements. …”

I was talking to an acquaintance about my friend’s frustration with the janitor entering her apartment whenever he wanted to. It turned out that this acquaintance was also a landlord, and he saw nothing wrong with entering his tenants’ apartments after he knocked and yelled “Hello”. He was aware of Evanston’s ordinance, but because he held a full-time day job, he felt he had the right to go into his tenants‘ apartments at his convenience. Unfortunately, many landlords in Evanston share his attitude. The fact that many tenants are unaware of the ordinance or the ordinance is not enforced guarantees continued abuse.

“Goosey, goosey gander Where shall I wander? Upstairs and downstairs and in my tenant’s chamber.” (Goosey = foolish; gander = a quick look)

(5–3–4-3: access): “(B) The landlord may enter the dwelling unit without consent of the tenant in case of emergency. (C) The landlord shall not abuse the right of access or use it to harass the tenant. Except in cases of emergency or unless it is impracticable to do so, the landlord shall give the tenant at least two (2) days notice of his intent to enter and may enter only at reasonable times.”

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...