Something new has been blowing in the wind. COVID has changed how landlords do business. With most of the eviction courts closed, landlords have opted to take measures into their own hands. One familiar tactic that has occurred a lot recently, is the landlord locking tenants out of the units and changing the locks. This tactic is completely illegal.
A landlord cannot lock you out of your apartment if you haven’t paid rent. He can only do so if he first goes to court, and gets an order from the court authorizing you to be removed. A landlord cannot lock a tenant out of their apartment for non-payment of rent without an order from a court.
This is also true if you are simply renting a room in a house. A landlord cannot lock you out of his house without a court order. The mere fact that a landlord is only renting a room to a tenant, as opposed to the entire house, does not give him special powers. He is bound by the law. He must get an order from the court to remove a tenant from his house. If he locks you out of the house without a court order, then that is an illegal lockout, for which he can be sued.
A landlord might be upset that a tenant hasn’t paid rent for six months, but that does not give him permission to avoid the judicial process and simply lock the tenant out.
If a landlord locks you out without a court order, that’s illegal. We can help you if that has happened to you.
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