Can my homeowners association change the lock on my condo unit even though I own the door?

UPDATED: Mar 3, 2012

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Can my homeowners association change the lock on my condo unit even though I own the door?

My condo has been vacant for the past year. A previous tenant broke into the unit with a key and the police were called. My homeowners association changed the lock and never notified me of the break in and lock change. They now say I’m responsible for the bill (which is exorbitantly high) even though the new lock wasn’t installed properly and I was never notified of the incident and lock change. Can my HOA legally change my lock in the event of an emergency even though I own the door and I was never notified?

Asked on March 3, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Illinois


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Your homeowners' association has every right to protect the property and common areas from further harm. In this situation, the HOA called the police and changed the locks but it should have contacted you and given you the key. Now as to the bill, that is a different question. If the bill is merely for the lock, it is perfectly reasonable to charge you the cost of changing the lock and a nominal fee if they had to bring someone in to do it. If it was installed improperly, you may wish to talk to the installer about a discount. If the HOA did not install properly itself, then it needs to discount a fee as well. Now, the best thing to do before approaching anyone is to review your bylaws and see if there is a provision regarding it inside.

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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