Can I changethe locks onthe door if the tenant has signed a contract that says I can?

UPDATED: Aug 4, 2011

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Can I changethe locks onthe door if the tenant has signed a contract that says I can?

I’ve been having issues with my current tenants. There contract was over last year so they are on a month-to-month basis but now I need my home back due to some financial issues. We have come upon a mutual agreement, that they are to leave the house in 2 weeks but I have also added on this contract (which is required for legal actions later) “If this has not been done by X date at midnight landlord will then change locks at home and anything left in premise will become property of the Landlord.” Is that legal if she signs it and understands the consequences of not leaving?

Asked on August 4, 2011 Utah


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can change the locks on the doors to your property under the agreement you reference within your question, but suggest you do not. I also suggest that you do not prepare or sign any agreement with your current tenants about changing the locks and keeping the items left in the home that belong to the tenants after the locks are changed if the tenants have not vacated the proeprty by a certain time and date.

The reasoning is that such an agreement would be in violation of laws of your state (and many others) and would be in violation of public policy.

The agreement as you have described is unconscionable and constitutes a penalty to the tenant in an arbitrary manner. If you have an agreement like the one you describe, attempt to lock out the tenants and keep their property, if they retain an attorney over what happened, you will end up regretting signing that agreement.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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