This is called a “self-help” eviction or what the law calls an “unlawful ouster.” This happens where a landlord removes a tenant from the property, does something to bar a tenant from possession (such as changing the locks), or causes an interruption in water, heat, hot water, electricity, plumbing or sewer systems.
A landlord is not allowed to engage in self-help evictions. Under state law only a judge can authorize a tenant to be evicted.
If the landlord engages in a self-help eviction or unlawful ouster, then you can either sue the landlord or file this as a counterclaim against the landlord in an eviction lawsuit. If you succeed in court, a judge or a jury can award you possession of the property for the remainder of your lease term and also award you three times your monthly rent or two times your actual damages, whichever is greater, plus attorney fees if an attorney represented you.