Is it legal for a commercial landlord to change my locks for non-payment? Does that terminate the lease?

Asked 12 months ago - Howell, MI

My landlord and I agreed to a lower lease amount, but didn't put it in writing. He has been accepting this amount for 7 months without saying anything different. It does state in the lease that he can lock me out, but isn't it against a state law?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Donald B. Lawrence Jr.

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    Answered . If the premises were voluntarily vacated, a landlord could secure the premises but vacated means that the premises are empty. However, a lock out is prohibited under Michigan law until after a landlord has gone to court, obtained an order for possession of the premises and had a Sheriff or Court Officer evict the tenant from the premises. Damages for a self-help lock out by a landlord can be awarded.

    Donald B. Lawrence, Jr. (P16463)* THE HUBBARD LAW FIRM, P.C.* DID 517-886-7115 Fax: 517-886-7129 Email:... more
  2. Thomas R. Morris

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    Answered . Short answer: It is against Michigan law for a landlord to lock out a tenant in possession without going to court to evict the tenant. I would need to know all of the facts before giving a definite answer.

    This answer is for discussion purposes only and will not be considered legal advice. Further, a court could... more
  3. David B. Carter Jr.

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    Answered . In short and based on this limited fact pattern I would say his actions are wrong and actionable. He has opened himself up to liability.

  4. Cheryl Rivera Smith

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    Answered . I agree with Mr. Morris and suggest that you carefully review the last lease that was in effect for holdover and renewal language. Best of luck.

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