Whatis our legal recourse if our landlords changed our locks while we were on vacation?

UPDATED: Jan 5, 2012

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Whatis our legal recourse if our landlords changed our locks while we were on vacation?

We were only 4 days late on our rent, which in our lease it says it’s OK; we just have late fees.They claimed we abandoned our home and they changed the locks. They said we have to pay the rent to get our stuff but cannot live there. We had no eviction notice nothing. We told them multiple times we did not abandon the home and that we would be back. We even emailed them saying our rent would be late a few days. Now they say we can’t live there.

Asked on January 5, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If your landlord used self help to try and evict you in violation of statutory process in your state by changing the locks while you were on vacation so that you cannot gain access to your rental, he or she has committed a legal wrong known as "constructive eviction" with respect to you.

I suggest that you immediately consult with a landlord tenant attorney about your situation and what legal recourse you have against the landlord. My experience is that from the facts that you have written about, your landlord has exposed himself or herself to a lawsuit with the potential of large damages that could be assessed against him or her.

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