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Wrongful Eviction?

Rochester, NY |

I currently share a residence with someone and they wish to have me evicted as we are having problems getting along. Although I have lived there just as long as they have I am not on the lease. I have no problem with leaving the residence in 30 days as they wish. My only concern is that they have taken my house keys without my permission and won't give them back. What are my options if I leave to handle my daily errands and return to being locked out of the residence and they won't let me back in? I called 311 non emergency and they couldn't tell me anything. Can I call the police? Can I break in? Or have I just basically put myself in a situation where I'm "sol". Any help is greatly appreciated.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. They don't have the right to self help eviction, meaning they are not allowed to take your keys or change the locks. Since you did not sign any lease you are free to leave on 30 days notice, so notice given before 4/1 would end your tenancy 4/30. If they lock you out you may call the police.

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  2. Its an unlawful eviction. You can go to Housing Court to get an order to be restored. It is illegal in NYC under local law so call the police to see if there's a similar law where you are.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at Eric@RothsteinLawNY.com. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.


  3. A landlord may only evict after going through all of the appropriate steps. By your description, your landlord may have skipped a few of them. Speak with an attorney promptly.

    This communication is intended only to provide general information. No attorney-client relationship is created.


  4. Dear Roommate:

    You cannot break into the apartment. Hopefully when you go out you have proof of your address with you and the tenant will not commit the crime of illegally evicting you.

    Call the police and complain that the tenant stole your house keys. Hire an attorney. Find the local landlord and tenant court web site and look for information. If locked out the police should restore you to possession. If locked out the court may provide a proceeding commenced by order to show cause for an illegal lockout.

    Good luck.

    The answer provided to you is in the nature of general information. The general proposition being that you should try to avoid a bad outcome if you can.

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