I am late in paying my rent, can my landlord or agent lock me out?

Updated: Apr 12, 2020

Sometimes there are those days and moments that you encounter a landlord or mostly a letting agent whose focus in life if greed lacking any human nature in them. They stroll around aimlessly and depleted of life and even in some worse case scenarios, verbally abusing the tenant. These landlords who take matters into their own hands without following the due process often think that their behavior will be excused by the tenant's egregious conduct.

However, the fact that the tenant didn't pay rent, left the property a mess, verbally abused the manager, or otherwise acted outrageously will not be a valid defense—and in fact, a landlord may well end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit for trespass, assault, battery, slander or libel, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and wrongful eviction. Defending this lawsuit will cost far more than evicting the tenant using legal procedures.

Landlords, property managers or letting agents who are tempted to take the law into their own hands in order to scare an already worried tenant out of the property with eviction threats, illegal lock-outs, utility shutoffs or attempts to physically remove a tenant breaks the law and commits an illegal act.

So, although the eviction process can often entail considerable expense and delay, they should consider it as the only legal game in town.

If you are late in paying your rent its important to note that this sometimes happen and the best thing is to have a habit of notifying your landlord or letting agent in advance where a tenant foresees a situation that may cause a delay in paying rent. This does not only create trust between the landlord, letting agent on one hand and the tenant on the other but prevent such situations and uninvited drama.

All dealing between the landlord and the tenants is governed by the rental or lease agreement which is the specific document that provides for a procedure into which such delay may be handled. Be it as it may that rental or lease agreement cannot have a lock-out clause because it in essence violates the procedural justice. If its a periodical tenancy which entails paying rent month after month, the landlord is supposed to;

a) If the tenancy included a deposit of equivalent one month rent, he can only take action after the end of the following month - this is to mean that the tenant is implying to use his or her deposit as the current month - In practice this can serve as a one month notice.

b) Towards the lapse of that one month, the landlord is entitled to give you a demand notice normally 14 days.

c) Its after the failure to honor demand notice that the landlord can issue a 7 day eviction notice.

d) If the tenant still does not honor the eviction notice, the landlord or his appointed agent can distress for rent.

In summary therefore if a landlord was to look at evicting a tenant or legally locking them out, this can only happen after 51 days.

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