What are the consequences of an illegal eviction? 11 Answers as of January 28, 2013

What happens if you do a self-help eviction of a non-rent paying tenant? What I mean is; your tenant doesn't pay rent and you decide to throw them out on the street without going into landlord tenant court.

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The Taylor Law Office L.L.C.
The Taylor Law Office L.L.C. | Ian A. Taylor
You would likely breaking a law. This may not mean criminal charges but would hold a LL to civil damages to the tenant. Depends on the state.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 1/28/2013
Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
The landlord can be sued in civil court and could be found liable for the tenants expenses plus other damages.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/28/2013
Ken Love Law | Kenneth Love
You get sued..this is 100% illegal in NC. DO NOT do this. I used to represent tenants in situations like this. You could be sued for severe damages including the loss of their property, the rental value of the home in which you removed them from, and unfair trade practices, which triples their damages. So your tenant doesn't pay and you don't get $800.00 (estimated number). You can go to Court and file for eviction and get them out legally and get a judgment for the $800 and your costs. If you conduct an illegal eviction, you could be looking at a judgment against for you potentially tens of thousands...it is that serious.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 1/28/2013
Reade & Associates
Reade & Associates | R. Christopher Reade
In Nevada, the penalty for an illegal lockout is (a) immediate restoration of the tenancy and (b) damages in the amount that the tenant has been damaged or up to $2,500 (or both).
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 1/28/2013
Sultan Law Office | Gregory Sultan
At least in Illinois you could be charged with theft and possible other criminal action. If the property were in Chicago, you would also be hit for legal fees and 3 times what ever security deposit the tenant had originally put up.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 1/25/2013
    Law Offices of Sandeep G. Agarwal
    Law Offices of Sandeep G. Agarwal | Sandeep G. Agarwal
    How were you able to throw them out without a court order? If you threw them out without going through proper channels, it is potentially illegal. If the tenants moved out on their own, then you have no problems.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/25/2013
    Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP | Kathleen DeLacy
    You could be held liable for unlawful oster and assessed damages.
    Answer Applies to: Delaware
    Replied: 1/28/2013
    Winnick Ruben Hoffnung Peabody & Mendel, LLC | Daniel N. Hoffnung
    Criminal and civil.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 1/25/2013
    Law Offices of Mark West
    Law Offices of Mark West | Mark West
    Depending on how you actually throw someone out on the street, you could be criminally liable for assault and battery to start with. In addition, in civil court you could be sued for wrongful eviction, battery, and perhaps other things. Evictions should always be handled through proper procedures to avoid problems down the line. While it may seem like you are "giving" away the space, you can always get a judgment against the person for unpaid rent and, to the extent they can pay it, recoup that later.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/25/2013
    Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
    You could be sued for assault, battery, conversion, emotional distress, etc., depending on how you conduct yourself. But, you have your contractual remedies, so I would study the written lease. It is not worth the risk to use self help, generally. Nevada has very landlord friendly laws for evicting tenants, so I would utilize them.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 1/25/2013
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    You can end up with serious problems, including being forced to let the tenant back and pay money. Depends on what state you are in.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 1/25/2013
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