If the ex moves out are you within your rights to change the locks?

Asked on September 9, 2011 under Family Law, West Virginia


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  When you say "ex" what do you mean?  Ex-girlfriend/boyfriend?  Ex-spouse?  Soon to be ex-spouse?  Is the person that moved out on the lease?  If you are married and t was the marital home and the person is on the lease then no, you can not just change the locks unless you have an order granting you exclusive occupancy or an agreement signed by your spouse.  If it is an ex girl or boy friend and there name is on the lease, the same also holds true but in a slightly different way.  They are a tenant with rights to occupy.  If they do not occupy or pay rent then the lease needs to be re-written getting them off or they need to be evicted before you change the locks.  If they are not n the lease (and you are not married) they are a sub tenant and you may still need to evict them or get them to sign something "terminating" their tenancy.  Get help.  Good luck.

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