Evictions must follow a strict legal process. If a tenant isn’t paying rent or has repeatedly broken rules laid out in the code of conduct, the landlord has the right to begin the official eviction process. He can’t take the law into his own hands, though. It’s illegal in nearly all 50 United States for the landlord to lock out a tenant. The definition of a lockout includes changing locks, blocking entry into the rental unit, cutting off electricity or water, or any other method that prevents the tenant from normal use of the property. The good news for landlords in the United States is that the eviction process is one of the shortest legal proceedings on the books. In New York, for example, it’s possible to legally evict a tenant in as few as 30 – 60 days.