Hello and welcome to Just Answer. No attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site, the answers are for general information. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.Changing the locks, and locking out a tenant is never legally permissible, even if an action is filed in superior court, no matter the justification. Under California Civil Code
section 789.3, a landlord who engages in a lockout is liable for damages of $100 for each day of the lockout, and the judge will award a judgment to the tenant.Civil Code section 789.3 states that,“(a) A landlord shall not with intent to terminate the occupancy under any lease
or other tenancy or estate at will, however created, of property used by a tenant as his residence willfully cause, directly or indirectly, the interruption or termination of any utility service furnished the tenant, including, but not limited to, water, heat, light, electricity, gas, telephone, elevator, or refrigeration, whether or not the utility service is under the control of the landlord.(b) In addition, a landlord shall not, with intent to terminate the occupancy under any lease or other tenancy or estate at will, however created, of property used by a tenant as his or her residence, willfully:(1) Prevent the tenant from gaining reasonable access to the property by changing the locks or using a bootlock or by any other similar method or device;So, under the law in California, the only way to legally remove a tenant is to prosecute an unlawful detainer case in the local Superior Court.I hope this helps with your question.