Can I, as a landlord, have the power turned off if my tenant doesn’t pay rent?

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Can I, as a landlord, have the power turned off if my tenant doesn’t pay rent?

The power is still in my name.

Asked on May 31, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No you most definitely cannot do this. Landlord's are not legally permitted to deprive their tenant of necessary utilites, no matter what the reason. If you undertake such an action, you could find youself facing a claim for unlawful eviction. This, however, is not to suggest that you are left without a remedy. You can file an "unlawful deatiner " action (i.e. eviction lawsuit).  At such time as a judge issues a writ of possesssion in your favor, you may theen lawfully turn off the utilites. Until that time take no other action against your tenant such as changing the locks, removing their belongings, etc. You cannot disrupt thier occupancy of the premises without a court order. While it's tempting to undertake a little "self-help" since you haven't been paid any rent - don't.


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