When may a landlord exclude a tenant?
A landlord may not intentionally prevent a tenant from entering the leased premises except by judicial process unless the exclusion results from
• bona fide repairs, construction or emergencies,
• removing the contents of the premises abandoned by a tenant or
• changing the door locks “on the door to the tenant’s individual unit” if the tenant is delinquent in paying at least part of the rent (Section
What three conditions are required before the landlord may intentionally prevent a tenant from entering the leased premises for nonpayment of rent?
- the right to change the locks because of nonpayment of rent must be placed in the lease agreement.
- the tenant must be delinquent in paying all or part of the rent.
- the landlord send written notice stating the the the landlord proposes to change the door locks are changed. The notice may be (1) mailed locally not later than the fifth calendar day before the date on which the door locks are changed, or (2) hand-delivered to the tenant or (3) posted on the inside of the main entry door of the tenant’s dwelling not later than the third calendar day before the date on which the door locks are changed,
What should the notice of lockout say?
The earliest date the landlord proposes to change the door locks, the amount of rent the tenant must pay to prevent changing of the door locks, the name and street address of the individual to whom, or the location of the on-site management office where, the delinquent rent may be discussed or paid during the landlord’s normal business hours, and tenant’s right to receive a key to the new lock at any hour, regardless of whether the tenant pays the delinquent rent, which must be underlined or placed in bold type.
How many times may the landlord change the locks during a rental payment period?
The landlord may change the locks only once during a rental payment period for nonpayment of rent.
What are the tenant’s judicial remedies if the landlord violates these provisions?
• recover possession of the premises or terminate the lease and
• recover from the landlord a civil penalty of one month’s rent plus $500, actual damages, court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees in an action to recover property damages, actual expenses or civil penalties, less any delinquent rent or other sums for which the tenant is liable to the landlord (Section 92.0081[h]).
If the landlord requires the tenant to pay the delinquent rent as a condition for getting the new key, the tenant may recover an additional civil penalty of one month’s rent to the one listed above.
How may tenant regain possession?
If the tenant has been locked out, the tenant may recover possession by filing a sworn complaint for reentry with the justice court in the precinct where the premises are located. The tenant also must state orally under oath to the justice the facts of the alleged unlawful lockout. If the justice reasonably believes that an unlawful lockout has occurred, the justice may issue, ex parte a writ of reentry.