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California Tenant Restraining Order and Changing Locks

The California Civil Code, Chapter 2, Section 1941.5 and 1941.6 outlines the following landlord obligations when a tenant receives protection by the court for being a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or other criminal acts:

Court Protective Order or Police Report

This subsection shall apply if a person is restrained from contact with the protected tenant under a court order or is named in a police report.

A landlord shall change the locks of a protected tenant’s dwelling unit upon written request of the protected tenant not later than 24 hours after the protected tenant gives the landlord a copy of a court order or police report, and shall give the protected tenant a key to the new locks.

If a landlord fails to change the locks within 24 hours, the protected tenant may change the locks without the landlord’s permission, notwithstanding any provision in the lease to the contrary.

If the protected tenant changes the locks pursuant to this subdivision, the protected tenant shall do all of the following:

  • Change the locks in a workmanlike manner with locks of similar or better quality than the original lock.
  • Notify the landlord within 24 hours that the locks have been changed.
  • Provide the landlord with a key by any reasonable method agreed upon by the landlord and protected tenant.

Restrained Co-tenant Remains Liable for Lease

A co-tenant that has been excluded from the dwelling unit under this section remains liable under the lease with all other tenants of the dwelling unit for rent as provided in the lease.

Note: “Court order” and “police report” means a court order or police report lawfully issued within the last 180 days.

Added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 626, Sec. 3. (SB 782) Effective January 1, 2011.

Return to California Landlord-Tenant Laws.