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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 37855
Experience:  I have handled Real Estate and Landlord Tenant matters for more than two decades.
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I have a tenant who is delinquent in rent payments and pet

Customer Question

I have a tenant who is delinquent in rent payments and pet deposits. Her lease has run out. She is in jail for drug sales involvement. I sent her two letters but don't think her friends took her mail to her. Her name is ***** ***** name on the lease, but I think other people have been staying there at times also. I have told them they must vacate the premises because none of them have a right to be there. Can I legally have the locks changed? What can I legally do in this situation?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  LawTalk replied 2 years ago.
Good afternoon,
I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.
Despite the fact that your tenant has not paid rent and is presently incarcerated, and even though legally she is a hold over tenant and no longer has a valid lease, before you may change the locks the law mandates that you formally evict her. It is certainly possible to evict anyone else still living in her unit at the same time as well.
This is not a simple process but must start by you formally posting a 5-Day Notice on the door of the unit, and then when the rent and other deposits have not been paid, you will have to file eviction proceedings in court.
Only after you have the eviction order and Writ of Possession from the eviction action do you have the right to change the locks on the unit.
While you can easily prepare the 5 Day Notice to Quit for nonpayment of rent, you will almost certainly need a local landlord-tenant attorney to process the eviction pleadings for you and to appear in court for the hearing. Here is a link to a Notice that you can modify to show your county, and then serve on your tenant:
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I wish you and yours the best in 2015,