Q: My landlord did not give house keys upon move in and will not until second month. Can I change the locks for my safety?
Me and my roommates moved in on Friday April 16. Our landlord has not given us house keys and says he will not until the second month. I’m not sure about the laws but I feel like that is illegal. Our lease says we cannot change the locks without permission from the landlord and he will not give it. Along with not having a key we also do not have air conditioning (in the middle of July in Virginia) as well as a major plumbing leak. Due to these issues my roommates and myself have not been sleeping in our house and have to leave it unlocked so we can get back in. So long story short will it be breaking my lease to change the locks?
A: Under the Virginia Code, the Landlord has a duty to maintain the premises in a fit condition. If there is no AC and there is a major plumbing leak, you should contact the Office of Housing Code Enforcement for the city/county in which the premises is located and make a formal complaint. An inspector should be sent to the premises to inspect the AC and plumbing issues. If the inspector determines that there are housing code violations, the inspector will issue a Notice of Violation and have it served on the Landlord for the repairs to be made. When the inspector comes to the premises, you should also explain the keys matter.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.