Can I change the locks on my problem tenant?
by Jacques Ambron
Feb 05, 2020 | 4873 views | 0 0 comments | 570 570 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jacques Ambron is executive director of sales for Brown Harris Stevens Forest Hills, LLC.
Jacques Ambron is executive director of sales for Brown Harris Stevens Forest Hills, LLC.
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Q. I own a two-family house and my tenant is not paying his rent. Can I just change the locks and remove his property?

A: Unfortunately, you cannot touch anything that the tenant owns, nor can you change the locks. Until an eviction proceeding has been instituted and ruled upon by a judge, the apartment is still considered the property of the tenant.

You only have the right to enter the premises for the purposes stated in the lease, for example, to make repairs or to correct a hazardous condition. You should contact an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant court cases to begin the process of eviction as your next step.

This process can take several months depending on the circumstances.

Q. I have a small dog that is a service dog. I was diagnosed with depression, and my physician suggested that I get a pet. Now I want to buy an apartment, but the agent tells me the building is not pet friendly. What can I do?

A: If your dog is an emotional support animal and you have a note from the doctor, then the pet is not subject to the pet restriction and you cannot be denied for that reason. However, you must submit the proper documentation to the apartment corporation.

You also must still pass their financial requirements and go through the normal board application review process to be approved.

Please send your real estate-related questions to jambron@halstead.com.
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