Can I change the locks on a person living in my inherited house if he leaves the property?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I change the locks on a person living in my inherited house if he leaves the property?

I am executrix of my father’s house, which was left to my brother and I. We allowed my son to stay in the house as long as he paid the bills associated with it. He has only paid $200 to date and owes me over $1300. My brother and I need to sell the house but my son won’t vacate. If he leaves the house to go to work, can I change the locks on him thereby securing my father’s assets and give my son a date to retrieve his belongings? Everything I have researched online says that I can. My brother and I are the only heirs named in the Will. Also, my son was informed prior to my father’s death that at some point he would need to vacate. Additionally, he has had numerous extensions to pay what he owes and now says we have to begin eviction proceedings. We have a written agreement about his responsibilities while in the house but he has not abided by them. We are running out of money and cannot afford a lawyer.

Asked on May 9, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you may NOT simply change the locks. Your son could be viewed legally as either a guest you allowed to live there or as a tenant, considering the money he was supposed to pay to be equivalent to rent. In either event, the law does not let you simply lock him out. Rather, you have to go to court to remove him: the kind of legal action you file, and the procedures for it, will vary with whether he should be best considered a guest (in which case you bring an action "for ejectment") or a tenant (eviction action), but either way, it must be done through court. The best thing for you to do is hire a landlord-tenant attorney to help: the lawyer will be able to determine the appropriate legal action to bring, will know how to bring it (including making sure that legally sufficient notice was provided), and will help provide a "buffer" between you and your son.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption