Illegal Landlord Lockouts
Bad landlords get nasty quick, and one of their favorite tactics is to lock a tenant out. If a tenant won’t move out when the landlord wants, some landlords think that they can keep tenants out by changing the locks. But, in Oregon, a landlord who locks you out is breaking the law; they can only do this if they have gone to court and won an eviction judgment against you.
Landlords who lock their tenants out without winning in court are in big trouble.
If you are a locked-out tenant, you have a number of important rights:
- If a landlord locks you out, that landlord owes you two months of rent in cash, or twice whatever your actual financial loss is as a result of being locked out (for example, the cost of your hotel room while you wait to get back into your home), whichever is more money.
- You can go to court and get an order from a judge commanding the landlord to let you back into the home and stop locking you out
- You have the right to end the tenancy and not pay any more rent to your landlord, ever, even if you are in the middle of your lease.
- There is nothing illegal about breaking a window in your own home in order to get back inside.
If your landlord locks you out, get a lawyer’s help. The attorneys at Portland Defender have helped many Oregon tenants in this exact situation, and they are ready to do everything the law allows to make sure landlords pay when they break the law. A lawyer at Portland Defender may even be able to help you in this type of case for free.