There have been many questions about how to act legally when a landlord locks you out of your home. Due to the fear in this regard, it is normal to think it can do nothing.
But the reality is different; when the landlord removes you from your home in different ways, he is acting illegally. For this reason, it is up to you to call the police to come and support you.
- 1 Is it legal for a landlord to refuse to let you into his home?
- 2 What are actions illegal for the landlord?
- 3 Why are all of the above acts illegal?
- 4 He would be infringing on a crime that is punishable by law
- 5 What should I do if my landlord locks me out?
- 6 Can you go to court?
Is it legal for a landlord to refuse to let you into his home?
It is illegal for your landlord to lock you out of an area that belongs to your lease. Therefore, you can take certain actions within the law if he does this. Because if you commit a crime, you would be disadvantaged if you want to stay in the room while you get another room to live in.
What are actions illegal for the landlord?
Anything that violates his part of the lease (giving you a comfortable living environment with necessities) is illegal.
Changing the locks and not giving you a new key
Changing the locks is the most common action a landlord takes when he wants to evict you. But it is illegal because it does not allow you to enter your rental unit.
Putting on new locks while you are away
It is taking advantage of the tenant’s absence to place padlocks that prevent easy and silent entry to the dwelling or to the lease, considered a violation of the rules that the landlord must comply with.
Removing water service
Withdrawing basic water service from a resident is a violation punishable by law. It results in no tenant being able to meet basic needs.
Removing electric service
When your landlord takes away your electric service, he is taking away your ability to live there. For that reason, it is illegal under the lease.
Turning off the heat
Removing the heating system in a room to speed up eviction is considered a pure sign of a landlord not caring about the living conditions of his tenants.
Dumping, damaging, or removing your belongings from the street
Any damage caused to a tenant’s belongings can be reported to the police. Since you are damaging the tenant’s economy, you are also humiliating the tenant.
Sexual or psychological harassment
Harassment is a serious crime that landlords use to inflict fear on tenants. Threats and insults usually accompany it. Any attack on the integrity of an individual is an illegal act, whether it is for money or any other object or situation.
Why are all of the above acts illegal?
Because everything related to eviction must be established before the courts act on the matter. Depending on the state, the sheriff, not the landlord, must request eviction. And if, in such a case, the tenant ignores the eviction orders, the sheriff himself is responsible for evicting him. So, if your landlord handles your eviction, he violates the law.
Therefore, if your landlord directly evicts you from his premises or does it indirectly by the methods mentioned above, he would be violating a crime punishable by law.
He would be infringing on a crime that is punishable by law
Because he would be taking justice into his own hands when it is not his duty as a citizen or landlord. Since that side, it is the responsibility of the state police. Although, really, just evicting you without notice is a crime. Some states must give you at least 14 days’ notice if they want to evict you for late payments.
On the other hand, if it is for demolition of the premises or change of use, it has to be up to 120 days in advance.
What should I do if my landlord locks me out?
The first thing to do is to try to talk to the owner of the room or apartment so that they will give you the new keys or allow you to enter. Making this call before calling the police is vital.
When you call the police, record the call with an option on your phone. From there, ask the tenant to let you into the premises; if the tenant doesn’t let you in, you should ask why.
In such a case, if he tells you he does not do it because you have not paid, let him know the legal consequences of his locking you out. If the landlord knows them and has not let you in, cut the call and save the recording.
Now, proceed to call the police and inform them of the situation and ask the team if they can come to your location to help you enter your home.
Can you go to court?
The answer is yes; depending on your payment history and positive behavior about the contract, the court may approve your stay while you get a new home.
However, if that is not the case, you could still apply to the courts to enforce the law against your landlord. If you have been out of the lease for several days, the landlord may be required to pay $100 for each day you were out.
In addition, as proof of the landlord’s attitude, you can use the recording of his phone call, where he told you that he did not care about the legal consequences and would not let you in. For this reason, you must know all the lease laws and what an illegal lockout is so that you do not lose out or sleep on the street.
Writer and content creator interested in Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Jobs and landlord issues. I have a bachelor’s degree in Communication from the Andrés Bello Catholic University, VE, and I also studied at Chatham University, USA. In this blog I write and collect information of interest around agreements, property and mortgage.