What can a landlord do if the tenant changes the locks without permission and refuses to give a key to them?

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What can a landlord do if the tenant changes the locks without permission and refuses to give a key to them?

I have a possible breaker box or electrical (stove) issue in this apartment and I am concerned and would like to get in.

Asked on December 12, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Oregon

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If your tenant has changed the locks to the rental that you own and has refused to give you the key, I would first call the tenant asking for the key followed up with a letter memorializing the conversation requesting the key be given to you by a certain date.

If the key is not provided by the requested date, you should carefully read your presumed written lease to see if the refusal is a material breach of the lease. If it is, you have the option of sending the tenant a 3 day notice to perform or quit. At his time, you should have a landlord tenant assisting you with this issue. The last thing you want to do is make a mistake where the tenant has a basis to bring a legal action against you.


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