It is quite a common practice where landlords, upon a breach of tenancy agreement by their tenants, change the locks to the premises in order to evict the tenants.
Legally, it is unlawful for landlords to evict their tenants or recover possession of the house/room without a court order under Section 7(2) of the Specific Relief Act 1950. In other words, landlords cannot simply change locks or terminate utilities to kick their tenants out without necessary court order, otherwise, the tenant may have a recourse against you.
Here is a list of things which may help you to better understand the process of tenant eviction:
- Refer back to you contract – first and foremost, check your tenancy agreement and the specific sections stating your legal rights and processes required to evict a tenant.
- Eviction Notice – If a tenant fails to pay rent, give the tenant a written notice to pay. If the tenant still fails to meet the payments, serve the tenant with an eviction notice. This could be done by filing a lawsuit against the tenant claiming the overdue rent, and requesting a court order to vacate the property.
- Eviction Order – If the tenant still refuses to move after the notice expires, the landlord may file an eviction order in court against the tenant to sue for outstanding rental, double rental, and recovery of the premises.
It is advisable to seek proper legal advice before you take things to your own hands!