Owning a rental property entails a wide range of duties. Your responsibilities go far beyond collecting rent. While you may recognize that your responsibilities also include property maintenance and general upkeep, one topic that frequently causes misunderstanding is whether changing door locks between tenants is required.
Although it is not required by law, landlords should be obliged to change the door locks every time a tenant moves out. Yes, it’s going to mean extra costs, but doing so will be beneficial not only for the new tenant but for the property owner as well. Changing the locks when a tenant moves out provides increased security for new tenants and, at the same time, protects your property.
Why Should Landlords Change Locks for New Tenants
In general, landlord responsibilities differ from state to state. Most states have no restrictions governing this decision; however, some municipal ordinances and laws may oblige the landlord to change the locks when a tenant moves out.
Even if previous tenants return their keys when they leave, they might have had duplicates produced, giving them continuous access to the property. By changing door locks, the renter (and you) won’t have to worry about it. Moreover, old locks could’ve been damaged during the previous tenancy, making them ineffective in what they’re supposed to do, which is to keep unwanted people out.
Can Tenants Change Locks
In most cases, tenants do not have the authority to alter the locks. They cannot prohibit the landlord from their property unless there is a valid reason. If the landlord changed the previous tenant’s lock or key, the new tenants should have no reason for changing apartment locks.
However, as previously mentioned, the laws regarding the changing of door locks are unique to each state. Despite numerous legal arguments in court, no law addresses whether a landlord is obligated or if a new tenant can change the locks. The specific circumstances of each case govern how disputes are settled.
Average Cost of Changing Locks
Many landlords are hesitant to take the often necessary step of changing door locks between tenants because they fear it would be too costly. The hesitation is not surprising, though, because the average cost of changing doors each time a tenant moves out is expensive.
The cost of a locksmith for home-related work will vary based on what needs to be done and how urgent the situation is. Nevertheless, the average cost of employing a locksmith is from USD$85 to USD$175, depending on the service. Keep in mind that these are just locksmith service rates and don’t include the price of the equipment or devices you want them to install when changing your rental property’s door locks.
Cost-Effective Smart Locking Solutions
As a landlord, it’s important to ensure that you have smart solutions and the best locks for your rental property that allow you to save money in the long run. Among these alternatives are:
New Deadbolt and Knob Combination
If you want to replace the locks, you must remove the old mechanism from the door and replace it with a new one. A word of warning, replacing the old locks with new ones can be expensive, but it’s going to be worth it given the level of security it can provide.
Re-key Existing Locks
Re-keying the existing locks is a less expensive alternative for landlords. To accomplish this, the lock on the door is removed and opened to reveal the pins. The pins are then replaced, resulting in a new configuration that requires a new key to open. In general, this is less expensive than purchasing whole new locks.
As homes become more sophisticated, there are more lock options ranging from automated locks and smart locks to Wi-Fi-enabled locks that a smartphone or other mobile devices can unlock. The door may be unlocked remotely by the landlord without the need to hire a locksmith, and the code can be altered with relative simplicity. One can also synchronize smart locks with other compatible smart devices, including Alexa and Google gadgets.
The best thing about smart locks is they’re a cost-effective option. You’re probably thinking, “How can they be a cost-effective option if they’re way more expensive than traditional locks?” Well, yes, they’re more pricy, but since you won’t have to change locks every time a tenant moves out, your savings would be more significant in the long run.
Perhaps the best way to avoid the complications associated with keys is never to use them. It may appear like electronic locks with number pads and codes are only found in science fiction novels and spy films, yet this is a misconception, and their prevalence in average homes is growing.
While they are more expensive to install, require batteries, and may necessitate the services of a locksmith, changing the code is free. And when tenants change, the old code is deleted from the system.
Do You Need a Locksmith To Change Locks
If you know the manufacturer or keyhole style of your locks, you may be able to purchase a lock re-keying kit at your neighborhood home improvement store. However, while most rental properties already possess the tools necessary to replace locks, re-keying locks may require expensive specialized equipment.
Most homeowners find it more convenient to engage the services of a locksmith to re-key or replace their locks. Since attempting to do these yourself may wind up destroying it.
Since locks and keys are essential for the tenant and the landlord, it is prudent to include the rules governing lock changes in the contract. A landlord can clarify and indicate in the lease agreement if they will be changing the door locks or if the tenant is permitted to replace the existing locks. By putting every variable in black and white, you can prevent conflicting issues from arising in the future. It would be best to consider all the information mentioned above to guide both parties.
Let Alpine Lock and Safe help you maintain the security of your rental property.
Locks and keys are essential components of home security. Thus, as a landlord, changing door locks between tenants must be your primary concern. You must remember that doing this isn’t just to please your new tenants, but it’s a part of your upkeep for your property.
To have peace of mind that your door locks are correctly installed and serve their function, hire the experts from Alpine Lock and Safe, the company you can definitely rely on when it comes to residential locksmith services in Vail and other nearby areas. With our professional locksmiths, you’ll be confident that your property will be safe and secure.