I Am Afraid I Will Be Locked Out Soon
If this is the case, you might also be experiencing other forms of harassment as well so look into what rights you have outside of the immediate lockout situation as well.
Your landlord cannot lock you out. In fact, only a sheriff can evict you after a legal eviction process. If you are afraid of a possible lockout, try to keep with you a mix of the following things:
1. A copy of the lease
2. Your ID with current address
3. A bill or piece of mail addressed in your name. This will allow you to prove that you are a tenant of that unit (sometimes all it takes is for a landlord to know that you are aware of your rights and that you are ready to enforce them).
If you do not have something addressed in your name, then you cannot write a letter to your landlord. In the letter, you should include:
- The instances your landlord has threatened to evict you before and/or has done other things to make you feel like they might lock you out. This documentation is very important. The more details you add, the better.
- For example: “at 12am, last night (1/1/20) you said you would throw my things out by Sunday if I don’t leave.”
- You can use California Civil Code §789.3(b)(1) which states that your landlord cannot prevent you from gaining access to your unit.
If you get locked out even after this, you have the option of calling the police and have them enforce your right to come back into the unit. This can be a very scary step and each police department handles these calls differently, but once you call the police, it may take hours before they get to you. Once there, they will ask you for proof of residency (documents mentioned above) to do a civil standby.
If you continue to receive invalid eviction notices including texts, verbal threats, or invalid written notices after you have have sent the letter citing your rights, then talk to a lawyer or counselor. This can escalate quickly to a legal matter.