If I’m late with my rent does that give the landlord the right to take the A/C breaker from outside?

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If I’m late with my rent does that give the landlord the right to take the A/C breaker from outside?

We have not received any legal notices to vacate the property, but does that give them the right to do something like this? The heat down here is over 100 degrees and will be for awhile. My wife has asthma so being without A/C will effect her greatly.

Asked on August 24, 2011 Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, the landlord does NOT have the right to do this. If you are late with the rent, the landlord may be able to evict you, but he or she has to do so properly, by bringing an action through the courts. A landlord may NOT resort to "self-help" by changing locks, turning off utilities, or depriving tenants of air conditioning (or heat). Doing so could make the landlord liable for illegal eviction (e.g. for trying to force you out), for a violation of the implied warranty of habitability (for making the premises unfit for residence), and possibly for breach of the lease (if it's clear you were renting a place with air conditioning). If the landlord  will not relent, you should speak with an attorney, and if you can't afford one, try contacting Legal Services. Good luck.


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