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

UPDATED: Apr 11, 2012

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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


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 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.

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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