Can my landlord lock me out of my apartment without notice because I am late on this month’s rent?

UPDATED: Sep 14, 2011

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Can my landlord lock me out of my apartment without notice because I am late on this month’s rent?

I came home from work today and the landlord locked my apartment; I am unable to get in. I went around to the renter’s office and I was told that they want me to pay a total of $1,200before they will let me back in. Should a speak with a landlord-tenant attorney? In Delaware County, PA.

Asked on September 14, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You should *definitely* speak to a landlord-tenant attorney; from what you write, it appears that you have been the victim of an illegal eviction and you may be able to have your tenancy reinstated and possibly also receive monetary compensation. If you are late with rent, you *may*  be evicted, but it *must* be done in the proper way, through the courts; a landlord may not simply lock you out. If the landlord does evict you improperly, he may be liable for the illegal eviction. Of course, even if you can get your tenancy reinstated, if you are still  in arrears on the rent, the landlord can then file a proper eviction action, so if you wish to remain in this apartment, in addition to addressing the improper eviction, you will also need to clear up any arrears on rent. Good luck.

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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