Warren, OH asked in Landlord - Tenant for Ohio

Q: My wife's adult child moved out, at what point can we legally change the locks

We allowed her son to come stay with us for what was suppose to be two weeks, six months later he has finally moved out. But because he still left some belongings here and hasn't changed his address he thinks he still has full access to the house, he claims he consulted the police department and they told him he can kick the door in if the locks are changed. He never paid anything while here. At what point is he considered moved out

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1 Lawyer Answer
Joseph Jaap
Joseph Jaap
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Licensed in Ohio

A: You need to call the police and find out who said he could kick the door in, and if a police officer actually said that. If an officer actually did, you need to talk to the police chief. That is really bad advice for the police to give. Someone breaking in like that could get shot by the homeowner. So for the police to say that, was irresponsible. Reasonable and responsible police will advise a tenant that a lockout is a wrongful eviction and a civil matter, and advise the tenant to retain an attorney. Or some police will accompany a tenant to the premises and help tenant try to resolve it with the landlord. But it is It is not a violation of criminal law for a landlord to change the locks. It is a civil matter of wrongful eviction, but not a criminal matter. If tenant kicks the door down, you could call the police, file a report, and sue tenant for damages. Tenant could even be arrested - by normal police. The proper process for you to be rid of your tenant legally, would be for you to do a proper eviction process. Tell the stepson that you can do an eviction -- if that's what he wants, but an eviction is a permanent court record, and that eviction will make it difficult for him to ever rent from a landlord who checks the records. It could even lower his credit score. So maybe persuade your wife to resolve this family problem with her son.

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