Locks are often a last line of defense to robbery attempts or a home invasion. A criminal may be deterred by a few home features such as: exterior motion sensor lights, security systems, and, of course, a locked door.
Safety and security are two of the most important aspects of property management. According to the FBI, burglary is the most common threat to homes and rental units.
Knowing this, when should property owners change the locks to a unit?
Managing keys and lock replacement protocol can become an expensive part of running any community. The average cost of replacing a lock can run from $100-200 for each lock needing to be replaced. Given that most units have more than one entryway, this can add up as renters move on to other living communities.
The laws regulating whether a landlord (or property management group) is required to change the locks after each tenant vary state-by-state. In fact, some even vary jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction.
According to LandlordGurus online, “most states require the landlord to provide a functioning deadbolt on all exterior doors to the unit. If it has been damaged, then you may be required to replace it for the new tenant.”
Here are situations when your community may want to consider changing the locks.
When a Key Has Been Lost or Stolen
One key can mean the difference between a break-in and a safe evening at home. If you have a tenant who has lost a key or possibly had that key stolen, you may want to change the locks. This one step can show your management company’s commitment to safety in the community.
When the Property Turns Over
While not always required in every state or municipality, changing the locks when one tenant leaves and another moves in can be a safety measure that can give everyone some peace of mind.
Tenants may choose to change the locks even if a management company does not. If this is the case, you will need copies of the key and to gain permission for the change.
When Vendors Have Completed Major Work
If your community is completing major renovations such as electrical, plumbing, or exterior work that requires the vendors to have copies of keys to access all areas, you may want to consider changing the locks at the completion of the work.
This will give unit owners a sense of security as they probably have seen the vendors using the buildings and accessing areas with keys. This is also a good way to ensure that any extra keys that may have been used are no longer useful.
According to Brink Home Security, “Apartment owners or renters should keep their spare keys only in the hands of a trusted few, such as roommates or family members. You should also consider smart locks that help you control who enters and exits with customized entry codes.”
If you have questions about what is legally required in your state, comment below or contact us about safety in your community.