If my renters changed the locks on my house, can I have a locksmith come open the door?

UPDATED: Aug 3, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If my renters changed the locks on my house, can I have a locksmith come open the door?

The renters were suppose to be gone by the end of the month but now they have changed the locks on my own house. Do I have the right to have a locksmith come out and get into my house since there contact is up and they were suppose to leave. They have already been given the written 20 day notice because they broke the month-to-month contract. I think they have moved most of there stuff out. I want to make sure they haven’t stolen my appliances.

Asked on August 3, 2011 Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You *can* change the locks, if the renters did not have the permission to change them, just as you may make other repairs to the premises or take steps to make sure you can access the space at need. Unfortunately, if you change the locks, you will have provide the renters with the new keys, since even when renters themselves violate the lease or the law, you cannot simply lock them out. Rather, to get rid of these renters, you will have to evict them under the law--i.e. go to court, get a judgment of possession, then get a writ or warrant of removal which a court officer (or sheriff or constable) will then execute, to evict them. You should retain a lawyer to help you--that will help you get this done more quickly.

You may charge the renters the cost of changing the locks and of any missing/stolen applicances; you can take it out of their security deposit when their tenancy is over, and then if necessary, sue them for any additional remaining balance or amount.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption