What do you do if a tenant changed the locks on your rental property is this week’s question for veteran landlord, investor and property manager Hank Rossi.

Dear Landlord Hank:

The tenant changed the locks and we cannot get in to do the inspection for the property sale. What step should I take? The tenant changed the locks on the door so that the inspector could not get into the home that is up for sale. The court gave us judgement. Then the tenant appealed. Can I still continue with the sale during the appeal process?


Dear Landlady Margaret:

I am not an attorney so I can’t give legal advice.

It seems reasonable to me that you should be able to continue to sell your property.

Look to your lease. Most leases forbid tenants from changing door locks and at the least, require tenants to give the landlord the new key.

I would also suspect that your lease would give you the right to show, inspect or visit the property, with notice to the tenant. It would be best to do this in writing, since this tenant is contentious, via email and a note on his door.

So the tenant has two lease violations so far (depending upon your lease). I would continue with the property sale but the inability of inspector to do his job will most likely hold up your sale, until this tenant leaves.

It sounds like you have a legal team, maybe you should consider eviction?


Hank Rossi

Each week I answer questions from landlords and property managers across the country in my “Dear Landlord Hank” blog in the digital magazine American Rental Property Owners and Landlord Association.  www.arpola.org/blogs

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