Is it legal for a landlord to shut a tenant’s power off if they don’t pay their rent?

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Is it legal for a landlord to shut a tenant’s power off if they don’t pay their rent?

Asked on June 13, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No it is not legal; a landlord cannot shut off a tenant's utility services (electricity, gas, heat, etc.). That is unless they must do so to make repairs. If a landlord wishes to evict a tenant, they must go to court and get a legal eviction order.

If the landlord wrongfully shut off a tenant's utilities, they may sue. If the tenant proves that their landlord's actions were wrongful, the court can order that the landlord pay the tenant 1 month's rent, attorney's fees, and damages. However, if the tenant owes rent, the court in its discretion may subtract the amount of delinquent rent from the tenant's award.


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