Am I permitted gain access to my rental if I have paid the first month’s rent an security deposit but have not gotten the key?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Am I permitted gain access to my rental if I have paid the first month’s rent an security deposit but have not gotten the key?

I’m a military family and have signed a lease aggrement for a house that we are renting; I have paid the first month’s rent and a security deposit. I have received a payment receipt for the rent payment but not for the security deposit. I have yet to receive the key in the mail and I am trying move in this month. If I get there and still don’t have the key, am I in the right to get a locksmith to open the door and move in anyway or do I still need to wait on this agent who is either not messaging me or taking his sweet time?

Asked on April 7, 2019 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, if the landlord has not received the security deposit yet, which appears to the case if you have no recept for it (or at least that will presumably be the position the landlord takes), you are not entitled to possesion (entry and use) of the premises yet, since you have not fully complied with your lease obligations. If you break into the unit--and that is what have a locksmith move you in without the landlord's consent is; breaking into the unit--you will be committing a crime and could be charged; you could also be sued for any damage done and to reset the locks; and the landlord will be justified in not renting to you.

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