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4 years ago
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Can the tenant change the locks and keys and decide not to tell the owners

Can a tenant change the lock and does not tell the owners or provide them with a copy of the key?, What grounds does the landlord have?
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Colleen Corgan
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4 years ago
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I think that this question would be dictated on a state-by-state basis, but my feeling is that the answer would generally be "no, tenants can't just change the locks."

According to the Landlord and Tenant Board (http://www.ltb.gov.on.ca/en/Key_Information/STEL02_111473.html):
"A tenant cannot change the locks unless the landlord agrees. Also, the tenant cannot add locks that might stop a landlord from entering the unit if there is an emergency or if the landlord has a valid reason for entering the rental unit and the landlord has given the tenant proper notice to enter. If the tenant does change the lock, a copy of the key should be given to the landlord immediately."
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Justin Rodante
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4 years ago
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I also happen to know that many locksmiths will not change the keys if you do not own the home.

A tenant of mine locked himself out of the house in Oklahoma while I was here in Washington, DC. He called a locksmith who wouldn't help him enter or change the locks since he didn't have any form of ID or anything stating he could do any of those things.

Either way, if your tenants decide that it is absolutely necessary at that very moment to change the locks (and there might be a suitable reason as to why), they definitely need to furnish a key to you ASAP.

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Sam Nueman
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4 years ago
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Good question Sandra.

No, a tenant cannot change the locks with obtaining an approval from the landlord. As a previous landlord myself, I go as far as making sure the tenants obtain a written approval from me before making changes like on the property.
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1 year ago
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can you break in your own property after giving 48 hour written inspection notice /7 day eviction (non payment rent 10 months) if he does not answer and he has changed the locks without permission? He also does not answer phone emails texts and there is no contract or lease. The police said that we still had to serve a letter or tape on the doors and hope he leaves without having to go through court to get him out! I just want to know if I can take a crowbar to the front door and pry my way in? on inspection day if he is not there! ( which he will either run or not answer the door on that day.

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3 years ago
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A smart landlord should have a clause in the lease agreement that states such action as illegal. But for your own protection you can require your landlord to re-key all locks for you if he/she did not do so after the previous tenant left. Legal advise for all landlords is to always re-key locks when tenants change in the unit/house.

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2 months ago
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