Can I, as a landlord, have the power turned off if my tenant doesn’t pay rent?

UPDATED: May 31, 2012

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Can I, as a landlord, have the power turned off if my tenant doesn’t pay rent?

The power is still in my name.

Asked on May 31, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Indiana


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No you most definitely cannot do this. Landlord's are not legally permitted to deprive their tenant of necessary utilites, no matter what the reason. If you undertake such an action, you could find youself facing a claim for unlawful eviction. This, however, is not to suggest that you are left without a remedy. You can file an "unlawful deatiner " action (i.e. eviction lawsuit).  At such time as a judge issues a writ of possesssion in your favor, you may theen lawfully turn off the utilites. Until that time take no other action against your tenant such as changing the locks, removing their belongings, etc. You cannot disrupt thier occupancy of the premises without a court order. While it's tempting to undertake a little "self-help" since you haven't been paid any rent - don't.

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 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.

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