Since I’m on the lease as well as my roommate, can she legally change the locks on me?

UPDATED: Apr 25, 2012

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Since I’m on the lease as well as my roommate, can she legally change the locks on me?

I’m on a lease with my roommate and we got a 7 day notice to vacate the premises from the apartment complex. I moved half of my stuff out so I still have some of my property and my daughter’s in the apartment and my roommate’s boyfriend changed the locks so now I can’t get in without her being there.

Asked on April 25, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, one roommate may not lock another one out of the premises they jointly rent; and a roommate has no right to detain or take the possessions of her roommate. What your roommate and her boyfriend have done is illegal--you could contact the police for assistance, or if they won't help (sometimes they don't in cases like this, concluding that it's a civil dispute, not a criminal matter), you could sue your roommate and her boyfriend for access to your belongings and/or the value of them.

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