Can my landlord lock me out with out for non-payment of rent without seeing a judge first?

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Can my landlord lock me out with out for non-payment of rent without seeing a judge first?

My rent was due on the 1st and I have yet to pay it. I am never late on rent and this is my last month here until my lease is up. I received a 5 day notice like 5-6 days ago. I told my landlord that I will pay her full rent and late fees in 3 days but she told me no; if I don’t pay by today I will be locked out. Is she allowed to do that? If she does do that what are my rights? Ialso have a dog that will be locked in if she does it while I’m gone.

Asked on October 12, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No--the landlord may not simply lock you out. All evictions must be by judicial process, through the courts. You may only be evicted if you violate the terms of your lease, and then only by bringing an eviction action in the courts. If you are illegally evicted, you can sue for re-entry and/or for monetary compensation. For example, any costs or injuries you incur due to an illegal eviction--lost or damaged belongings, cost to store your property somewhere, cost to stay in a  hotel or motel, etc.--are all things you could recover if you are illegal evicted. If your dog is locked in, you may be able to go to the courts on an emergency basis to gain access--though if you know your landlord may try this (even thought its illegal), it would be prudent to maybe leave the dog with family or friends.


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