Can I legally break in to my own storage closet in my condo complex and change the lock?

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Can I legally break in to my own storage closet in my condo complex and change the lock?

I own a condo in a building where each unit has an assigned storage space accessible from a common area (garage). A new owner (apparently – I have no proof of this) – of another unit has removed my tenant’s belongings and changed the lock, apparently mistaking this closet for the one assigned for his unit. The only contact info I have for this new owner is a lawyer who is a statutory agent and not returning my calls. Is this a police matter (trespassing)? Can I legally break in to my own storage closet and change the lock?

Asked on April 11, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the storage closet that you have as a condominium owner has been taken over by some third person where a lock that is not your own has been placed on it, you have every right to cut the lock on your storage unit and remove the belongings to a secure location and replace the cut lock with one of your own.

Before you do so, I would write the new owner about the situation giving him or her so much time to remedy the situation for you. If not done by the stated date, you can do what you need to do to protect your property. Keep a copy of the sent letter for future use and need.


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