What are a tenant’s rights if a landlord breaks into their house?

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2012

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What are a tenant’s rights if a landlord breaks into their house?

My pregnant girlfriend and I have been renting a house from my uncle. The house was, and still is, in need of improvements. Our agreement was oral but we also have written documents stating the agreement. It was that we would receive free rent in exchange for work done on the house. Recently, we locked it up and went into town and he came to our house. He does not have a key to any door so after knocking and realizing we were not home, he broke the lock on our back door and came into the house. There was some money on my table and he took $200. My neighbor’s across the street, who I work with and trust, told me my uncle was at my house. There are 4 witnesses who saw him. I have called him with no response. What are my rights?

Asked on July 15, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You should report the incident to law enforcement as a burglary. What the presumed landlord did was a crime.

As to a civil action against the landlord for the burglary, you should consult with a landlord tenant attorney about your recourse. Given the situation that you have written about, I would not want to remain as a tenant where you presently reside.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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