Note: tenancy law changed on 23rd March 2020. All our factsheets are up to date, but sample letters are still under review.

You can use this sample letter when the landlord has:

  • changed the locks, or taken some other action, to prevent you from entering the premises and,
  • they have not obtained orders from the Tribunal and a warrant for the Sheriff to assist them to evict you. 

Cut and paste the template letter below or download a copy from the link above. Remember to substitute your details for the details contained in [square brackets].

[Your name and address]


[Landlord’s or agent’s name and address]

Dear …

Re: Lockout at [your address]

You have entered and changed the locks on the doors to stop me from re‑entering the above premises.

I demand that you immediately provide me with new keys so that I can re‑enter the premises.

I have sought advice from the [name of Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service].

Locking out a tenant is illegal. It is an offence under section 120(1) of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 to recover possession of residential premises unless you have a warrant issued by a court or the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. A landlord who does so, as well as any person assisting them, faces a penalty of up to $22,000.

In addition, under section 187(1)(d) of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal may order that the landlord pay compensation to a dispossessed tenant.

Unless I am notified on [phone number] that the keys will be available by 5pm today, I will be applying to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for an urgent hearing. I will ask the tribunal to make an order that a copy of the keys be given to me to enable access to the premises.

I will also consider lodging a complaint with NSW Fair Trading asking that they investigate and prosecute in relation to the alleged breach of the Act.

Finally, I put you on notice that if any of my possessions have been interfered with or damaged, I will seek compensation in my application to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

I trust that this matter can be resolved without my having to take legal action.

Yours sincerely

[T Tenant]