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My landlord changed the lock to my apartment with my stuff inside. What should I do ?

Boston, MA |

I am 62 years and lost my job. I moved into this apartment to share with another tenant. After a month the tenant moved out and the landlord is holding me responsible for the entire rent.When I could not come up with it, he changed the lock to the door as I went out to look for work.I have been locked out for more than a week and have been sleeping in shelters and at times in my car. I need help to let him open the door so I can get my stuff out. Thanks.

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Attorney answers 4


Are you on the lease with the landlord? If you are, you and the other tenant would be both jointly and severally responsible for the rent.

Regardless, a landlord cannot simply lock you out without utilizing the court system first. Your landlord is required to adhere to Massachusetts statues if he is going to evict you. Your landlord's actions are illegal. I've attached the link below for more information:

DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided for informational purposes only and the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice relating to your specific situation, I strongly urge you to consult with an attorney in your area. NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH ME ARE TO BE CONSTRUED AS ARISING FROM AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP AND NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WILL BE ESTABLISHED WITH ME UNLESS I HAVE EXPRESSLY AGREED TO UNDERTAKE YOUR REPRESENTATION, WHICH INCLUDES THE EXECUTION OF A WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF RETAINER.


You should consult an attorney as soon as possible. You have several options including writing a demand letter to the landlord, going to Court and getting a temporary restraining order, or calling the police and filing a criminal complaint.

The foregoing answer does not establish an attorney client relationship, is not confidential, and should not be relied upon in place of an actual consultation with an attorney. Attorney Samiotes is licensed to practice in Massachusetts, the Federal District Court of Massachusetts, and the Court of International Trade. Most initial consultations are free. Further information is available on my profile and at


Landlords are prohibited from doing self-help (like changing the locks). Consult a landlord tenant attorney immediately.

Melissa Levine is a licensed attorney in Massachusetts. All answers are based on Massachusetts law and should not be construed as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed by Attorney Levine answering your question. It is advisable to consult with an attorney about your personal legal concerns.


You should report this to the local police at once, and, hopefully, they will inform your landlord that what he/she has done is illegal, and you will be allowed back into your home. You should also immediately go to your local district court, and request and file a Summary Process Complaint, asking not only to be let back into your home, but also asking for monetary damages from your landlord for illegally locking you out of your home. You can and should also ask to have an opportunity to speak to the Court (the judge) because you have been illegally locked out of your home, and have been forced to sleep in homeless shelters, and sometimes your car, for the past 6 days. You should write down what happened in chronological order, including specific dates (and approximate times, if helpful to you and Court to understand), and also state you are over 62 years old, and disabled, and how and when your landlord locked you out. What you write up and give to the Court will be called a “Motion” and after you have set forth the facts in numbered paragraphs, you should sign it “Under the pains and penalties of perjury on this ___ day of (month), 2013.

The Court may issue an order requiring landlord to immediately let you back into your home, and there will also be another hearing in the very near future that both you and landlord will need to go to, so the Court can hear from both sides. You should obtain an attorney to represent you, and there is an organization called the “Volunteer Lawyers Project” in Boston that assist people of modest means for no or very little money for the attorney’s time (but not out-of-pocket expenses, I do not believe). There are also other organizations that may also be able to help you.

Get legal help as soon as possible, and best wishes to you.

No attorney-client relatonship is created in responding to this question, and advice provided is based solely on very limited facts presented, and therefore may not be correct.