Keys for a house placed next to a miniature version of a house

Can a receiver change the locks?

When a receiver is appointed, he or she is appointed by an order issued by the judge. An underlying lawsuit must be filed prior to the appointment of a receiver. The appointment of the receiver is an equitable remedy. There are many types of receiverships including real estate receivership, partnership dispute receivership, equity receivership, divorce receivership, judgment enforcement receivership, and Health & Safety Code receivership among many others.

At the heart of all receiverships is the receiver’s obligation and duty to take possession of the assets over which he or she is appointed. Maintaining the security of the assets is of paramount importance. Included in this process is the right to change locks. Since the receiver has possession of the property, the receiver generally has the authority to change the locks over the real estate or business. However, the receiver would generally not have the authority to change the locks of tenants’ units without providing copies of the keys to the tenants. A receiver would be able to change locks of common areas of properties in order to preserve and maintain the security of the real estate or the business.

In addition to changing the locks to the front doors of a business, the receiver may also have the authority to change passwords to computers, access safes, change passwords to online cloud-based document storage platforms, change locks to security fencing and obtain access to safe deposit boxes.

Ordinarily, the specific authority granted to a receiver including the ability to change locks would be included in the order appointing the receiver. If the receiver has any questions regarding his or her authority to change locks, the receiver may always seek further instructions from the court. Depending upon the type of receivership, it is important to appoint a receiver that specializes in the particular type of receivership matter at hand.

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