Is it legal to change the locks on a non-paying tenant in STL?

10 Replies

We have a tenant that hasn't paid rent in St. Louis, MO. 

Is it legal for us, the landlords, to notify her that if she doesn't pay the rent by X date/time, we would change the locks and when that date comes and payment is not received, we just change the locks?

@Jorge Garifuna that is illegal. No offense but you should know the answer to this question if you own rental properties. Go to your local library and check out the NOLO book on managing rental properties. There are lots of legal issues that you should be familiar with to protect yourself. @Matthew Kreitzer is correct in this situation you need a local attorney. 

The action you describe goes by several names, such as "constructive eviction", but in any case, it's pretty much always illegal.  What you're attempting to do is evict the tenant without a legal court order to do so.  

The tenant can call the police, and they will order you to let them back in.

This is really really basic info, essentially Landlording 101.  I highly suggest you retain an attorney if you want to move forward with an eviction but don't know the proper process.

You have a responsibility as landlord to learn your state landlord tenant regulations. I would suggest you get on that immediately before you get yourself in deep trouble with this or future tenants.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Tenants can charge landlords through the courts for violation of their rights.

Time to learn your business regulations if you plan on staying in business.

Originally posted by @Jorge Garifuna :

We have a tenant that hasn't paid rent in St. Louis, MO. 

Is it legal for us, the landlords, to notify her that if she doesn't pay the rent by X date/time, we would change the locks and when that date comes and payment is not received, we just change the locks?

 No.  You need to evict them legally.