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Can a tenant change the locks on a commercial building?

Discussion in 'Commercial Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by John8534, May 26, 2016.

  1. John8534

    John8534 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Can a tenant change the locks on a Commercial building without consent of owner/landlord?
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Arizona has a commercial landlord tenant statute that appears to answer that question:

    ARS 33-322. Damage to premises; classification
    Removal or intentional and material alteration or damage of any part of a building, the furnishings thereof, or any permanent fixture, by or at the instance of the tenant, without written permission of the landlord or his agent, is a class 2 misdemeanor.

    Whether changing the locks would rise to the level of criminal prosecution is unclear, but could certainly be a breach of the lease.

    And if your lease gives the landlord right of access under certain circumstances and you prevent that access you'll also be in breach of the lease and subject to termination and eviction.

    So, if you have good reason to change the locks and they don't have to do with issues with the landlord, then give a set of keys to the landlord.

    If you are having issues with the landlord then I suggest you rely on your contractual remedies and not change the locks because the landlord can just as easily change them and lock you out and that's legal under:

    ARS 33-361A. When a tenant neglects or refuses to pay rent when due and in arrears for five days, or when a tenant violates any provision of the lease, the landlord or person to whom the rent is due, or the agent of the landlord or person to whom the rent is due, may reenter and take possession, or, without formal demand or reentry, commence an action for recovery of possession of the premises.

    You can read the commercial landlord tenant statute from ARS 33-301 through ARS 33-381 at:

    Arizona Revised Statutes

    You also need to carefully study your lease for additional rights and obligations.

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