Locking Out A Tenant Is Illegal

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on November 30, 2006 under Landlord Tenant Lawsuits | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

What every landlord wishful of getting rid of an unwanted tenant should keep in mind, is that they can be subject to penalties for changing locks or cutting off utilities, in order to force a tenant to vacate the rental property.

No doubt, as every landlord will agree, there are occasions when tenants may sorely test your patience, tempting even a saint to bypass normal legal procedure, and take direct and immediate action to safeguard his / her rental property. Take for example; a tenant’s repeated destructive behaviour may push a landlord to consider replacing the locks and slinging the tenant’s property out on the street. Or else, if a landlord is the one responsible for paying the utility bills, may simply stop paying the bill, hoping lack of water, gas, or electricity will compel the tenant to move out.

However, no matter how bad the situation, landlords should not take matters into their own hands thinking the egregious conduct of the tenant excuses your behaviour. Nonetheless, the tenant not paying rent, leaving the property in a mess, hurling verbal abuses when approached, or otherwise acting outrageously does not constitute as valid defence. In fact, such behaviour may well land a landlord on the wrong end of a lawsuit for not only trespass, but assault, battery, slander or libel, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and wrongful eviction. Defending this lawsuit will prove far more expensive than evicting a tenant by going through the regular legal channels.

Landlords or managers of rental property should not attempt to take the law into their own hands. Taking the short route by threatening, intimidating, cutting of utilities, or attempting to physically remove a tenant is illegal and can prove to be dangerous. So, even if the eviction process may entail considerable expense and delay, it is the only kosherly legal game in town.

Add A Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.