tenant changed locks and refuses to give landlord key. can landlord have rekeyed and give tenant key

In Property Management - Asked by Rick C. - Aug 4, 2011
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Answer(s)

Brandon C.
Broker/Agent
Long Beach, CA

It depends upon the lease language. The industry standard in our market is the AIR lease; which has language stating that a Tenant is required to give a Landlord a copy of the key once they change the locks. You would want to consult a lawyer (specializing in real estate) regarding changing the locks and giving the tenant a new key. I would believe this could expose you to some liability risk. I hope this helps.

Aug 4, 2011
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Adebo F.
Owner/Investor
New Castle, PA

Most state laws require that the tenant give landlord access when proper notice given. I will assume that a tenant locking the landlord out will be a violation of that law. You should review your state's landlord/tenant law and challenge this tenant in court.

Aug 8, 2011
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Melody T.
Owner/Investor
Gresham, OR

I have been a landlord for 40-some-years. I suggest that you might be real sweet in person...like saying to the tenant....".While I understand that you might feel uncomfortable by thinking a previous tenant might have a copy of the key to your home, I would like to assure you that this is not possible, because: 1. I switch locks around between my different propereties 2. I re-keyed this lock prior to giving you your keys 3. What are your concerns? Please tell me why you are feeling this way.
You must be careful today. There are more laws to protect the tenant than the landlord...you know...right? So, unless you are desparate to keep this tenant, you could simply give this new tenant a "legal notice to vacate within the legal # of days". Be careful here! If the tenant can tie you up with a complaint that might get an "advocate fro tenants", on the tenants side against you, you could be headed down a road you do not wish to travel! I would have to know the market in your area. My best advice is that unless you are desparate to keep this tenant, I would carefully start over, Did you do a credit & reference check? A criminal history check? BY THE WAY...HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT THE TENANT CHANGED THE LOCK?? Did you try to enter without serving a "proper notice to enter"? Above all, if you are a landlord, you need to know the LAW and Landlording-rules..better than the tenant does. If you are a new landlord?? Study up, go to the library and discover what your rights are...if you do not know. Finally, do not get into a "legal contest with your tenant". In my opinion, discovering the type of tenant that you might best get along with can make all the difference. You may have to take your tenant out to a coffee shop for lunch, to gain the trust & respect you need to operate your rental business. Remember, whenever you take your tenant out to eat(or the tenants family for that matter); you could even take your family out to meet with your tenants family(teaching your kids to be landlords)...to a restaurant of your choice, and "the cost should be tax-deductible". If you can't be a good landlord, then give it up to a property management co.. However, if this was once your home, then you are mostlikely... too emotionally attached; so you might consider trading this property into a different one...so that you are not distracted from your other work. Remember...KISS..means keep it simple stupid. We are all stupid when we get emotionally involved with material objects, unless this was your home like I said. Lastly, talk to an attorney as previously suggested. Good luck.

Aug 29, 2011
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