Tenants In Arrears. Can The Landlord Change The Locks?

Can I change the locks?
Image courtesy of Miguel Saavedra.

“If my tenants are in arrears and avoiding all attempts of contact, can I enter the property when they’re out and change the locks?”

No, you can’t.

It is illegal to forcefully evict a tenant from the property without going through the proper proceedings first.

If the tenants are in arrears then the first thing to do after repeated attempts at contacting them is to issue a Section 8 – Notice of Possession form. You should then go through the proper legal proceedings to pursue an eviction.

You must always try to resolve issues with your tenants first as there may be a perfectly good explanation. Try to exhaust all forms of communication, such as:

  • Phone call
  • Voicemail
  • Text message
  • Email
  • Recorded/Signed for letter (send 2 or 3 of these over a couple of weeks)
  • Hand deliver a letter
  • Knock on the door (be careful with this, do not harass the tenants!)

If they are still refusing to talk to you then you can go down the legal route.

Only after the tenants have vacated and you legally possess the property again can you change the locks.

Have you been down this path before? Recognise the scenario? Leave a comment and let us know what happened!

Caroline Engstrom

Caroline Engstrom has a passion to help landlords and tenants by providing helpful tips and advice regarding real estates.

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