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What is a lockout? 

A lockout occurs when the landlord and/or agent avoids a legal process and decide to illegally lockout a tenant from their home by changing the locks, cutting off utilities, removing doors and windows, or the out-right removal of the tenant’s personal property.

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Can a landlord lockout a tenant from their apartment? NO.

A landlord cannot lock out or remove a tenant from their rental unit, even if the tenant is past due on rent or involved in eviction proceeding. The landlord must adhere to the unlawful detainer court process. Only a sheriff with a court order can execute a lockout after the tenant has been properly served with a valid notice, unlawful detainer summons, and either the tenant lost the case by default or at trial.
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Can the landlord cut off utilities to force tenant to move? NO. 

The landlord cannot try to force a tenant to move by cutting off the utilities, which include water, electricity, and gas. If the landlord cuts off the water or power, the tenant should call the DWP at 1-800-342-5397 to report the issue and ask for restoration of the utility service. For gas utility shut-off call the SoCal Gas Company at 1-877-307-7070.
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What to do when the landlord locks out a tenant?

Call the local police at the closest precinct to help with re-entry at LAPD’s non-emergency number at 1-877-ASK-LAPD (1-877-275-5273). Show the police officer documents the prove tenancy at the address (Example: lease, rent receipts, utility bills, DMV registration, or notices issued by landlord). Ask the police officers for a report of this incident.

What type of information should a tenant have on hand?

Carry a copy of tenancy documents, or save digital copies (images) in an email, or a secured personal device. (Example of documents: leases, rent receipts, utility bills, DMV registration, ID, or landlord issued notices). Have such copies readily available to show to the police.

Can a tenant pursue legal remedies against the landlord if tenant is locked out of their home?

Yes, a tenant can seek legal assistance to regain possession of their unit and seek other damages. For legal referrals, visit:

If you have been locked out, call HCIDLA: 1-866-557-7368.

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