Washington, DC asked in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law and Landlord - Tenant for District of Columbia

Q: Can my pastors come in my home because it’s on church property without my permission?

I live on the property of the church I attend, and I also work here. I haven’t started paying rent yet, but I will be soon. Someone told the pastors that they smelled marijuana coming out of my apartment and the pastors showed up unannounced and demanded they come into my home without giving me a reason as to why until I asked them multiple times. I told them I didn’t want them to come in because I felt violated and uncomfortable. It was a weekend night and outside of work hours. The pastors said they have to come in and went in my home and looked around anyway, without permission. Only to find that they did not smell marijuana.

What are my rights as a resident on church property? What should I do?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: As a resident on church property, you have the right to privacy and the right to deny entry to others, including pastors, without your consent or without a legal warrant. Just because your home is located on church property does not mean that your pastors have the right to enter your home without your permission.

In this situation, it may be helpful to have a conversation with your pastors and express your concerns about their unannounced visit and their entry into your home without your permission. Let them know that you felt violated and uncomfortable, and ask them to respect your privacy in the future.

If the pastors continue to violate your privacy and enter your home without your permission, you may want to consider seeking legal advice or consulting with local authorities to protect your rights.

It's important to remember that while you are a resident on church property, you still have legal rights and protections as a tenant. Be sure to read and understand your lease agreement and any applicable state and local tenant laws to ensure that your rights are being protected.

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