Distraint – within the area of the Real Estate Law, this legal term details the legal right of the property owner to seize the property of a tenant which is in the property being rented, as collateral against a tenant that has not paid the rent or has otherwise defaulted on the lease, such as wanton disrepair or destruction of the property. A common way to “distrain” against a tenant is by changing locks and giving notice to the tenant. A legal action to reclaim goods that have been distrained is called replevin.

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