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  • Joel Votolato

Don't Take Evictions Into Your Own Hands


Evicting a tenant is a complex and sensitive process that requires careful adherence to legal guidelines and procedures. However, there are situations where a landlord may feel compelled to take matters into their own hands, resorting to a process known as self-help eviction. Self-help eviction refers to a situation where a landlord attempts to evict a tenant without involving the court system or following proper legal procedures. While self-help eviction may seem like a quick and convenient solution, it is generally illegal and can lead to severe legal consequences for the landlord. Here are some reasons why self-help eviction is not advisable:

  1. Violation of tenant rights: Self-help eviction violates the legal rights of tenants. Laws exist to protect tenants from arbitrary eviction and ensure that landlords follow due process. By bypassing these legal protections, landlords risk violating the rights of tenants, which can result in legal actions and potential liability.

  2. Legal consequences: Self-help eviction is illegal in most jurisdictions. If a tenant discovers that they have been wrongfully evicted, they have the right to pursue legal action against the landlord. Courts tend to view self-help eviction unfavorably and may award significant damages to the tenant, including compensatory damages, attorney fees, and even punitive damages in some cases.

  3. Property damage: Attempting a self-help eviction can lead to property damage or destruction of tenant belongings. When landlords resort to forceful methods, such as changing locks, removing tenant possessions, or shutting off utilities, it can escalate the situation and cause significant property damage. In addition to legal consequences, landlords may be held liable for any damages caused during the self-help eviction process.

  4. Reputation damage: Engaging in self-help eviction can tarnish a landlord's reputation. Word spreads quickly within communities, and landlords who employ such tactics may find it challenging to attract future tenants. Prospective renters are likely to be cautious about renting from a landlord known for disregarding tenant rights and engaging in illegal practices.

  5. Lengthy legal battles: If a tenant decides to contest the eviction and initiates legal proceedings, it can result in a protracted legal battle. This not only prolongs the process but also increases the financial burden on the landlord. Going through the court system provides a fair and impartial resolution to disputes, ensuring that both parties have an opportunity to present their case.

Instead of resorting to self-help eviction, landlords should follow the proper legal procedures to evict a tenant. This typically involves issuing a formal eviction notice, filing a lawsuit if necessary, and allowing the court to handle the eviction process. Consulting with an attorney specializing in landlord-tenant law can provide guidance on navigating the eviction process while protecting the landlord's rights.


In conclusion, self-help eviction is an ill-advised course of action for landlords. It violates tenant rights, exposes landlords to legal consequences and property damage, damages their reputation, and can lead to lengthy legal battles. Following the correct legal procedures is essential to ensure a fair and lawful eviction process while avoiding unnecessary complications and risks. It is always advisable to hire an attorney that regularly represents landlords in eviction matters.

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