What are my rights as a tenant that has been notified with an immediate lease termination notice?

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What are my rights as a tenant that has been notified with an immediate lease termination notice?

Due to domestic issues with someone on the lease with me, I was forced to change the locks. I contacted my landlord for help, I also asked what, if anything, we could do to have him removed from the lease. I was not rendered any help from either her or the cops, so I felt as if I had no choice but to change them. I never barred her access to her property but I did however ask her for a notice prior to her arrival, which she refused to do. Once she demanded a copy of the key via text with a deadline. I, the same day, took her a copy. Since then she illegally entered my home, now is evicting me.

Asked on August 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Even if you feel you had "no choice but to change" the locks, you may not do that: you have no right to make a physical change to the premises without landlord permission, to lock out another tenant, or to restrict the landlord's ability to enter the home. From what you write, you may have provided the landlord grounds to evict you; however, since the specific circumstances are critical to determining that--and since even if the landlord has the right to evict you, she must go about it the right way, so you need to analyze what she's done and how she's done it--you should speak with an attorney. It may be that in that case, you have a defense to eviction. You need a lawyer to consider all the facts of the situation in detail.

However, even if you can avoid eviction this time, such as on a procedural ground (e.g. the landlord did not provide proper notice), bear in mind that what you did is illegal and a violation of the lease.


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