What are a tenant’s rights if a landlord breaks into their house?

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What are a tenant’s rights if a landlord breaks into their house?

My pregnant girlfriend and I have been renting a house from my uncle. The house was, and still is, in need of improvements. Our agreement was oral but we also have written documents stating the agreement. It was that we would receive free rent in exchange for work done on the house. Recently, we locked it up and went into town and he came to our house. He does not have a key to any door so after knocking and realizing we were not home, he broke the lock on our back door and came into the house. There was some money on my table and he took $200. My neighbor’s across the street, who I work with and trust, told me my uncle was at my house. There are 4 witnesses who saw him. I have called him with no response. What are my rights?

Asked on July 15, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You should report the incident to law enforcement as a burglary. What the presumed landlord did was a crime.

As to a civil action against the landlord for the burglary, you should consult with a landlord tenant attorney about your recourse. Given the situation that you have written about, I would not want to remain as a tenant where you presently reside.


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