I am renting my home and my tenant change the locks without my permission. Can she do that and not furnish me a key? Can I evict her?

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I am renting my home and my tenant change the locks without my permission. Can she do that and not furnish me a key? Can I evict her?

Asked on May 31, 2009 under Business Law, Texas

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I don't think the tenant can refuse to give you a key.  Whether you can evict her or not, I can't say, since I'm not a Texas lawyer (this area of the law does vary some, from state to state) and I don't have all the facts of your case.

The best advice I can give you, is to see a landlord-tenant attorney in your area, and give him or her the full story, including a copy of the lease.  One place to fiind a lawyer is our website, http://attorneypages.com

I'm assuming that the change of locks without giving you a key can be shown to breach the tenant's side of the lease.  That may not be enough to evict her right away;  you probably need to give her formal notice to cease the breach of lease and a chance to give you the key, first.  In most states, eviction requires a very specific series of steps, depending on the reason for the eviction and a few other things, and if you make a mistake you have to go back to the beginning of the process and start over, usually meaning a month or two lost.  You hire an attorney so you can get it right the first time!


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