I am currently locked out
California Civil Code Section 789.3 it states that after a court order, only a sheriff can remove you from a property. Your landlord cannot block access to your unit by removing belongings or changing the lock themselves. In this situation, your best bet might be to call the police and wait for them to enforce your right to be in the unit. This can be scary and not a solution for everyone, but if you have not been evicted by a sheriff, you have the right to be in your unit.
When you call the police, be ready to show some evidence of you living in the unit such as:
- An ID with the address
- Your lease
- Even some witnesses
Based on our experience, it often takes a few hours for the police to arrive, so stay close if possible. Once the police arrives to the unit, they will re-instate you and talk to your landlord. Ask the police for a card and a copy of the police report – you may need it later. Create a plan with your family or loved ones in case this happens again.
You then have an option of writing a letter to your landlord documenting the harassment you have experienced, including:
- When and for how long the lockout occurred and any other forms of harassment.
- If you plan to sue, you should state that in the letter as well.
If you can, talk to a lawyer to see if you are able to sue the landlord and have them revise your letter.
An illegal lockout is not okay and is usually part of various harassment tactics. If might feel like your only option is to vacate your unit but most times you do have other options and finding what those are allows you to decide what’s best for you!