Can my boyfriend’s landlord change the locks on the doors without properly notifying him?

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Can my boyfriend’s landlord change the locks on the doors without properly notifying him?

My boyfriend was behind on his rent and his landlord was letting him pay what he could until he got caught back up. However, when my boyfriend went home today he found the locks were changed and all of his things are in the house. He called the landlord and he told him he had been texting him telling him what was going to happen but my boyfriend’s phone was off, so he never received the text.

Asked on January 6, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, your boyfriend's landlord may not do this. If  your boyfriend is behind on rent, the landord most likely may evict him--but it has to be done the right way, through the courts. The  law does not allow landlords to simply change locks or otherwise lockout tenants; they also can't deny tenants access to their own property/goods. From what you write, the landlord may well have illegally evicted your boyfriend, and your boyfriend  may have the right to reinstated, at least temporarily, to the home and potentially also receive monetary compensation. He should consult with an attorney.


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