Property Management Blog

Why Should A Landlord Change The Locks Between Tenants?

Shawn Johnson - Tuesday, July 2, 2019
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Creating a safe environment for your tenant’s is a big responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly. You, the landlord and as business owners have an obligation to keep your investment property and your tenants’ safety of top priority. Just imagine the horror and anxiety your tenants would have to deal with if they are being assaulted in their new home simply because you didn’t change the locks? I cannot imagine the pain and anguish the tenants would be going through not to mention the cause of distress for you as well as the huge liability suit you’d be dealing with in the wake of an event like this. 

You don't want to be liable for any breach of security into the rental home(s) you provide, and you most undoubtedly don't want to deal with any lawsuits over something that's essentially preventable. Therefore, make sure you take all necessary steps to prevent added liability, especially when major issues can cause large legal costs or even worse, harm to your tenant. 

Take a proactive stance in that sense so you can build a more lasting and solid relationship with your tenants when they feel secure in it. Some may find it extravagant to be spending too much on these things for your tenants but by being intentional about your goals and purpose will allow a successful investment property business.

Here, are a few of the reasons why you need to change locks in between tenants. 

Imagine moving into a new home. It’s an exciting time for you. In this time, you’re doing everything to make your new place, your new home. Your first night, you didn’t quite get your bed fully set up with all the other important things that must be set up, but that’s okay, you can sleep with the mattress on the floor for a night. Now imagine, you’re completely asleep from the exhausting day you had when suddenly you hear someone open your front door.  

You’re thinking, “Who is in my house!?!” Then you hear someone say, “Oh, my gosh! Someone has already moved in! My key still worked so I wanted to check and make sure I didn’t leave something behind.”

This is a perfect example of a landlord who didn’t change the locks between tenants and what a scary experience it could be for both the former tenant and the new tenant not to mention the potential legal ramifications that could be a result of this. Believe it or not, this has happened before.

We all have experienced losing our set of keys at some point. Demanding schedules, too many thoughts and emotions entering our mind, that we sometimes forget where we’ve placed our keys. Your tenant may have also loaned their keys to visiting friends, relatives, and even service repairmen, and didn’t get the chance to return the keys or failed to give them back.  There really isn’t any possible way to know how many keys are out in the world that a former tenant has given out. And the hard question to swallow is: “Who might have gotten a hold of the property’s keys?” or “What are they going to do with them?” It seems very unlikely that this would occur but believe it or not, people do place the address of the home on their key ring. Or worse, people who have found keys may have followed you home and know where you live. The point is, you want to have total control and confidence when giving possession to the new residents. 

The moment you loaned your keys, you already lost control!

Previously burglarized homes pose the most threat. Various studies explain that if it has happened before, it can definitely happen again. More often than not, there is a pattern that can be linked to it as well. There may not even be an apparent key missing, regardless, rekeying the home can help provide a sense of security needed to recover from a recent burglary. 

It all comes down to maintaining control of the security of the home. Conceivably, this is the most significant reason you should require to change locks between tenants, so you can maintain key control and security of the property. The bottom line is, your tenants deserve a secure and safe home. In exchange for that, you will have the peace of mind that they won't be harmed by your negligence of not having the keys changed. One final thought to being a landlord is to take it with great responsibility to do your part in providing a safe environment for your tenants. There are some very cost-effective methods of making lock changes easy time and time again. Feel free to ask us how even on a large scale. 

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