Can my landlord change locks

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Can my landlord change locks

I’m behind on rent so my landlord did a lockout. She did give me a notice to pay or there will be a lockout performed. I wasnt able to pay so she changed my locks and told me that I would not be able to get the keys until I paid and what I owed. Now im forced to leave my front door unlocked when I leave. Is that legal?

Asked on July 10, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

No is not legal. Landlords can only lock out through the legal system--i.e. by bringing an eviction case or claim against the tenant for some valid grounds (like not paying or being late with rent) and getting the legal system to lock them out. "Self help" evictions where the landlord just changes the locks are illegal. You could go to court to get a court order that she give you a key to the new lock--go to the landlord-tenant office or department in your local county court, explain the situation, and ask for instructions and forms. Bear in mind that if you are behind on the rent, while you can get the keys back for now, she could bring an eviction action to have you properly locked out if she chooses.


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