Absolutely Not. While it can be stressful to have a Tenant that is late with rent, a Landlord cannot change the locks during a lease. Unfortunately, many choose to go this route resulting in penalties. As a result, they can end up paying thousands of dollars. Therefore, you can contact our office if you have been wrongfully evicted or have questions about your conduct.
83.67 states in part that they cannot:
1. Cause utilities to stop operating. These include water, heat, light, electricity, gas, elevator, garbage collection, or refrigeration.
2. Prevent access. For example, they are not allowed to change the locks.
3. Remove property. Unless they have terminated the lease or vacated, they cannot take a Tenant’s possessions.
What rights do Tenants have if the Landlord changes the locks?
They have the right to sue for damages or 3 months’ rent. In addition, the Landlord will be responsible for their costs and attorney’s fees. When a Landlord rents their property, they are subject to State Laws. While it may not seem equitable that they are owed rent, they cannot take matters into their own hands. As discussed above, if they fail to comply, it can be very costly for a landlord.
While a Tenant’s failure to pay can be frustrating, a Landlord cannot change the locks to the property. Therefore, if you have questions about your rights as a Landlord, contact the Law Office of Brian P. Kowal, PA at (954) 990-7552.