Landlord Locks Out

Avoid Taking Matters Into Your Own Hands: Why Landlords Should Never Lock Their Tenants Out

Are landlords allowed to change the door locks or turn off the utilities in the hopes to get tenants to move out of a rental property? The answer is no! In fact, landlords can face penalties for doing these things.

Any experienced landlord can tell you that there are instances of tenants who do things so outrageous that landlords want to take illegal shortcuts to protect their rental property. For instance, a tenant who is repeatedly destructive may have the landlord consider changing the lock and placing their unruly renter’s possessions on the curb. A landlord who pays for the utilities may be drawn to the idea of not paying the bill with the hope that the tenant will move out.

Why Landlord Should Avoid Locking Out Their Tenants

Landlords who decide to deal with the matters all their own often excuse their behavior by saying it was their tenant’s behavior that drove them to it. However, even though a tenant didn’t pay rent or verbally accosted the manager, destroyed the property, made a huge mess or any other reason, it does not give the landlord the right to lock out their tenant and hold their possessions hostage or throw it out. In fact, doing so could get the landlord into legal trouble for libel, slander, battery, assault, trespass, etc. It could end up costing the landlord more money than if they had used the legal eviction measures.

Here’s a piece of advice for all landlords and property managers looking to scare off or intimidate a “bad” tenant from their property: don’t do anything!

If you try to take shortcuts in getting rid of a problem tenant, it can backfire on you. This means don’t do the following things:

- Threaten
- Shut off utilities
- Physically remove tenants
- Intimidate

While the eviction process is long and expensive, it is the only real course of action landlords can take.

Don’t Get Hit With Penalties and Monetary Damages

Nearly all states have some kind of law that forbids landlords from taking matters into their own hands and assessing those who do penalties and other sanctions. This includes law about rental security deposit that landlord could abuse at the end of rental period against tenant.Tenants who have been locked out of their home or who have had their power cut off can actually sue for actual monetarily losses like temporary housing cost, value of spoiled food, cost of electric heaters. However, they may sue for other penalties like several months’ rent. Some states allow tenants to collect money and stay on the premises. In other states, tenants will only be allowed the monetary compensation.

Even states that have no legislation against self-help evictions, landlords who evict their tenants without taking legal action do so at their own legal entanglements. And, the possibility of things getting nasty is high.

Landlords can also be sued for a tenant’s missing possessions especially if the landlord locked the door or threw out his/her possessions. And, with a legal court paper signed by the judge evicting the tenant will avoid any other legal recourse.

If you want more landlord related legal information, go to Free Legal Form site, browse and download many free legal forms as in PDF format, including lease agreement and Landlord Obligation that can be checked by any landlord.