What are a tenant’s rights if their landlord locks them out?

I decided to move out of my apartment. I gave my landlord a 60-days notice. While I was out of town lmy landlord changed the locks.

Asked on September 17, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Landlords may not simply change the locks on residential tenants. The only way to lock out a residential tenant is by going to court for eviction (and only if there was a violation of the law or the lease which would justify eviction). Otherwise, if a landlord simply changes the locks, tenants may sue them, either to be let back into the apartment or for damages (e.g. the cost to rent elsewhere or stay in a hotel or store belongings) or poentially both. Sometimes there are additional penalties for landlords who do this. You should consult with a landlord-tenant attorney, to see what your options are and the cost to pursue them, so you can make an informed decision as to what to do.

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