My favorite landlord to oppose is the one who locks out their tenant—I love the smell of bad landlords in the morning!
There is a proper way to do tenant eviction, and then there are a lot of improper tenant eviction techniques, like locking out the tenant or shutting off the water, heat, electricity. Some landlords get creative in their self-help eviction…but the law is not on their side.
The landlord can be liable for damages or 3 months’ rent (whichever is greater) for improper eviction. Renters in possession have rights…even if they have not paid the rent. If you infringe on those rights, it could be you who gets billed.
Tenant eviction is a Summary Procedure, meaning it takes a shorter time than a regular lawsuit. While a regular lawsuit gives a homeowner 20 days to answer, a renter only has 5 days. Do not try to speed up the process by changing the locks or cutting off the utilities. And let the sheriff’s deputy do his job in serving the eviction notice.
Know and follow the proper procedure for tenant eviction; they are available free online at http://www.rustylaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Evictions.pdf . You can also read the entire Landlord/Tenant statute at http://www.rustylaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Chapter83.pdf .