Can a landlord change a tenant’s lock while the tenant’s stuff is still inside and at no knowledge to the tenant?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can a landlord change a tenant’s lock while the tenant’s stuff is still inside and at no knowledge to the tenant?

Asked on May 2, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, a landlord may not do this. Even if the tenant's lease has expired or the tenant has committed acts which would provide grounds for eviction (e.g. failed to pay the rent; violated important lease provisions after notice to stop such violations), the landlord may still not lock the tenant out. Tenants may only be locked out or evicted by court officers (such as sheriff's deputies or constables), following the landlord bringing and prevailing in an eviction action.  Only the courts can order a lock out.

Also, landlords have no right to keep a tenant's belongins or prevent the tenant from accessing his or her belongings, even if the tenant owes the landlord money.

A landlord who does these things would have committed illegal eviction and possibly a form of theft (taking another's belongings) as well, and could be liable to the tenant for both reinstatement in the premises and for monetary compensation.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption