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My family and were illegally evicted and the locks were

Hello, my family and...

Hello, my family and were illegally evicted and the locks were changed. We were wondering what we could do.

Lawyer's Assistant: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

Florida. We were tenants at will since October and after we came back from a week at a hotel, we couldn't get in and all of our stuff was in the garage without access.

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?

We only contacted the police to document the situation, this happened last night.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

He is our roommate and also our landlord and claims we still owe him money but all of the rent was paid before the illegal eviction.

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/14/2018
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 13,259
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

This appears that this eviction may be unlawful unless the landlords had a court order that allowed them to change the locks. Generally, a landlord must follow procedural requirements when issuing an eviction notice. This means a tenant must receive written notice of the eviction before it is effective. In addition, a landlord’s eviction is unlawful generally if they violated the implied warranty of habitability; the implied warranty of quiet enjoyment; if the landlord has locked the tenant out; if the landlord has failed to uphold promises made in the agreement; or if the tenant has cured a problem such as past due rent. Plus, landlords cannot discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, or religious affiliation either under the Fair Housing Act. Basically, if the landlord failed to provide the necessary notice or get the necessary authority, you should be allowed back in. You may have to file a lawsuit and request an injunction to get back onto the property.

The main thing to remember is that there exist various reason why a landlord’s eviction notice may not be effective. Because landlords are people, they are sometimes not thinking their way through the situation and that gives you an opportunity to help them understand their legal position. What I recommend is sending them a letter detailing the reasons why the eviction notice is unlawful. There’s a site that I’ve used in the past where you can find a good template for a letter that puts the landlord on notice that their eviction notice is unlawful (click here). It only costs $10 and it is way cheaper than litigation.

How else can I help you today?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
No, thank you. This is amazing advice.
We don't have a lease but we have been tenants at will since December, do we still have the same rights?And how do I find the right lawyer to represent my case.

You're welcome and no, it doesn't matter whether you have a lease or oral rental agreement. Your rights are still the same.

One of the hardest things to do sometimes is find a lawyer that you can trust. Google searches are a good place to start, but usually the lawyers who pay the most in advertising can get bumped up to be on the first page regardless of their quality. One thing I recommend is going through your state’s lawyer referral service (LRS). The LRS in each state typically requires the attorney to have several years of practice, be free of discipline, and have adequate staffing to assist people. Check out the website for your state’s LRS:

Florida LRS click here

You can also search for attorneys on a website called Lawyer Legion (click here) that scours all 50 states based on the kind of attorney you need.

Did you have any other questions for me today that I could help you with?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
No, thank you for all of your help. Have a great day.

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Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
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Satisfied Customers: 13,259
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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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