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Legal Information: Virginia

Housing Laws

December 4, 2020

Can I change my locks?

If you are a tenant or authorized occupant who has a protective order due to family abuse (but not an ex parte order) or a court order as part of a divorce that gives you possession of the home and excludes one or more co-tenants or authorized occupants, you can:

  1. give the landlord with a copy of that court order; and
  2. request that the landlord:
    • install a new lock or other security devices on the exterior doors of the apartment at the landlord’s cost; or
    • allow you to do so.1

However, at the end of your tenancy, the tenant will be responsible to reimburse the landlord for the “reasonable cost” that s/he may have for the removal of any security devices installed and repairs to all damaged areas.2

Once the locks are changed, the landlord cannot provide copies of the keys to the person who was excluded from the home.3

1 Va. Code § 55-225.5(A),(D)
2 Va. Code § 55-225.5(A)
3 Va. Code § 55-225.5(C)