One in three renters will experience a home burglary, and they are significantly more likely to experience this than homeowners. Therefore, it is crucial that landlords and renters work together to see to it that a rental property is as secure as possible, starting with the locks.
By installing deadbolt locks on all exterior doors, one of the best ways to prevent break-ins is accomplished.
Follow these Guidelines No Matter What
- It is advisable for renters and landlords to enter into leases that include a guarantee of “habitability,” which includes provisions for lock change in most states.
- The lease or move-in document should include a list of the number of keys the landlord issued to the new renters when they moved in.
- In addition to adding a provision to the lease that forbids renters from changing the locks unless given permission, a landlord might also add a provision to the lease that prohibits lock-changing unless permission is granted by the landlord and a key is given. In some states, for example, California and New Jersey, renters are permitted to change the locks on their property without giving landlords a key unless the lease says otherwise.
- It is advisable for management to have a key to the property, as a backup in case of an emergency. Perhaps they will have to fix it, or perhaps they will have to allow repair people access to the property if the renter is not home. This will only occur once the landlord provides proper notice to the renter.
The laws governing lock change on a rental units are frequently complex and differ between jurisdictions. In most states, landlords cannot change the locks on a renter’s property until the tenant is evicted or moves out voluntarily. A tenant’s right to change the locks on her doors is governed by state and local laws, as well as the terms of her lease. Landlords and tenants who are unsure about their rights should seek legal counsel.
When Locks and Keys really Matter
Generally speaking, renters should not anticipate receiving their keys until their landlord has received (and cashed) a deposit and any prepaid rent.
When you are an owner, you are responsible for the security of your property, so you should rekey the locks each time you have a new set of renters. When Lucas Hall, the founder of Landlordology, began investing in property, he didn’t even change the locks in spite of the fact that his tenants had changed. That is something he does not endorse.
“I was too young to realize better at the time,” he explains. But looking back, I see how ill-advised it was. I had nothing to worry about because nothing bad happened.
Even if renters return all keys to the landlord, there is no way of knowing if they have made additional keys illegally. The only way to ensure that the rental property will be secure for the new tenants is by changing the locks.
To increase security, landlords should consider having “smart key” technology installed, which enables landlords to rekey the locks on their own in seconds. Alternatively, you can get a good job done for approximately $100 to $200 by a pro.
In the majority of states, rekeying the locks between tenants is not a legal requirement. Renters, if you move into a new home, ask your new landlord if the locks have been changed. Do you have permission to do this on your own if they say no? Once you’ve delivered the package, you should make sure to hand them the key.
Moving Out of Property – Real Estate and Tenant Responsibilities
When renters move out, they should give the landlord the keys they received when they moved in and be straightforward about whether or not they made any copies. In this scenario, if the landlord provided the renters with two original keys, then two copies of the keys are returned (minus the originals), so the landlord will know copies were made.
Renter Leaves early and Change the Locks
Let’s pretend that a renter pays the rent all the way until the end of the month, but then decides to move out early. If they change the locks without first obtaining permission from the landlord and property management, does the landlord have the right to change the locks in the absence of explicit permission in the lease? It is based on personal preference.
While tenants have the right to request that their locks be changed back, if they fail to respond to a request by the landlord, the landlord must wait until the lease expires before rekeying the premises.
It is sometimes possible for the landlord to change the locks as long as they inform the renter of this beforehand. In addition to that, if they go ahead with that, they should also give the renter an extra key so the renter can enter the property until the lease expires. To return the key on or before that date, the renter would need to do so. The laws regarding this situation vary by state, so make sure to check your state’s laws.
Landlord Changes the Locks in Real Estate Without Reason
Landlords, please don’t do this. Even if a renter has failed to pay rent or otherwise ruined the property, you do not have the right to lock them out of their home.
It is almost illegal in every state to change the locks without going through the proper eviction procedure. Even if the renter has every legal right to pursue his claim against you, he or she could win an award for lost money such as the money it cost to put up at a hotel, as well as penalties for spoiled food in the fridge and court-assigned penalties. Losing is not an option. Do not call the police. Rather, proceed with the legal eviction route with a lawyer.
Buying a New Home – Real Estate Investment
Making sure the doors are locked after you buy a new or newly built home should be on your list of things to do after you’ve moved into your new place.
The key to a home that has had prior families living in it has a different number of copies out there because you simply do not know how many families previously lived there. Since you are the new owner, it is your responsibility to have the locks changed.
Several contractors, inspectors, and real estate agents would arrive and depart from a newly built home during its construction. This demonstrates that all of these people had keys, one way or another. In most cases, you’ll have to conduct a sale audit. This is because it is typically part of the process, and the responsibility of the builder to make changes to the locks and other products.
Renter wants to Make Copies of Lock Keys
Before talking to your landlord, renters should first clarify any questions they have. The landlord will most likely follow the terms in your lease if it says you are not allowed to make copies. Since you are making copies of products of keys, you are in violation of the lease.
Renter Loses Keys
Lost keys could be anywhere, and they could be in anyone’s hands. In order to make sure the property is protected, the landlord should rekey the locks right away. When it comes to a tenant, the process of rekeying typically costs money, just like with a landlord.
The Right of the Tenants to Security
The right of a tenant to live in a habitable home is guaranteed in most states. This means that the rental unit must meet minimum health and safety standards, such as securely locking doors. If a tenant’s locks stop working, he should first contact the landlord to make arrangements for new locks. If the landlord fails to respond, the tenant should review his lease and any applicable landlord-tenant laws. The tenant may be able to change the locks himself or hire a locksmith and then seek reimbursement from the landlord.
The Right of the Landlord to Enter the Rental Unit
Tenants have the right to privacy in their homes, but this right is not absolute. State and local laws grant landlords the right to enter a rental home to make repairs or investigate a suspected emergency, such as burst pipes. This means that if a tenant changes his locks, he must provide his landlord with a set of keys.
Illegal Eviction Methods
Most states make it illegal to lock a tenant out of his or her home as a form of “self-help” eviction. Landlords who believe they have the legal right to evict a tenant should do so in accordance with state law and request an eviction order from a judge. Even in states where changing a tenant’s lock is legal, the lockout is not considered a permanent eviction method by the law. A Texas lockout, on the other hand, is intended to force a tenant who is behind on rent to communicate with the landlord, who must provide the tenant with a key to the new lock upon request.
Changing Locks During Legal Eviction
Landlords who intend to evict a tenant should arrange for a locksmith to be present when a sheriff’s deputy or other law enforcement officer arrives to enforce the eviction. This is due to two factors: For starters, changing the locks prevents the previous tenant from entering the house after the deputy has left. Second, some tenants have been known to change locks prior to an eviction in order to make it difficult for the deputy to enforce the eviction. A locksmith can disassemble the lock, allowing the deputy to accompany the tenant out of the building.