Definition - What does Distraint mean?

The term distraint refers to the right of the property owner (landlord) to take into custody the property of the tenant. This property must be in the premises of the property of the landlord that has been rented out to the tenant. This right is exercised when tenant fails to pay the rent.

Justipedia explains Distraint

Distraint can also be practiced when a tenant damages the property. The usual way to practice distraint is by giving the tenant a prior notice or by changing the locks to prevent access. Tenants also have a right to start a legal action against the landlord, under the doctrine of replevin, to reclaim his or her goods.

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