Ask the Attorney: Tenants Moved Out & Refuse to Return Keys

ask-the-attorneyThe Landlord Protection Agency®presents John Reno, Esq.,a highly experienced Landlord – Tenant attorney based on Long Island, NY.

Q:  Dear Mr. Reno:

I have tenants that have moved out but are refusing to return the keys until they get the security deposit. I explained that I have 30 days to inspect the property and assess any damage and send them a notice of what, if any, the refund will be. They have also claimed the hot water heater is not working but have denied me access to the property and the police told me they can’t force them to let me enter the property.

The police told me as long as they are there I can’t make them give me back the keys but as of today the home is vacant. There are still a few of their possessions in the back yard but it seems to me they have moved out otherwise. Do I have the right to change the locks or am I breaking a law?
Thanks,

Renee, MI

A: It’s a judgment call. My opinion: if their clothing and valuables are gone (TV, Jewelry, Stereo) then they’re gone. Probably OK to change the locks.

Legal Disclaimer
The Landlord Protection Agency’s “Ask the Attorney” column is for informational purposes only. The questions answered by Mr. Reno on this site do not constitute an attorney – client relationship and are not to be considered legal advice. Not all questions will be answered and some may appear in the LPA Q&A Forum.
The Landlord Protection Agency recommends that you seek legal advice before using any of the material offered on this web site, and makes no guarantee on the effectiveness, compliance with local laws or success of any of the material offered on this web site. The Landlord Protection Agency is not engaged in rendering legal advice.

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