Can my landlord lock me out of my apartment without notice because I am late on this month’s rent?

I came home from work today and the landlord locked my apartment; I am unable to get in. I went around to the renter’s office and I was told that they want me to pay a total of $1,200before they will let me back in. Should a speak with a landlord-tenant attorney? In Delaware County, PA.

Asked on September 14, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You should *definitely* speak to a landlord-tenant attorney; from what you write, it appears that you have been the victim of an illegal eviction and you may be able to have your tenancy reinstated and possibly also receive monetary compensation. If you are late with rent, you *may*  be evicted, but it *must* be done in the proper way, through the courts; a landlord may not simply lock you out. If the landlord does evict you improperly, he may be liable for the illegal eviction. Of course, even if you can get your tenancy reinstated, if you are still  in arrears on the rent, the landlord can then file a proper eviction action, so if you wish to remain in this apartment, in addition to addressing the improper eviction, you will also need to clear up any arrears on rent. Good luck.


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