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tennant loses keys several times


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I'm a new landlord, the tennats have move out last week, but during their 6 months rent they have lost the keys at least 3 times. everytime i have kindly given them my key for them to make a copy. but during the last few week they have been a nightmare, and i am bit concrened for the security of my house. can i change the lock and charge them from their deposit?

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First thing I always do when a tennat moves out is change the locks. I change the top barrel and a new mortice lock. for the sake of £15-20 its not worth the hassel. I change them as soon as they leave the front door after signing the exit inventory.

Not sure if the cost would be higher if they are UPVC doors, but its a must to secure the house as you do not know who they have let the keys to in the past, or how many 'other' copies they have. I also have a clause in the AST that states if they lose the keys, the Police have to be informed, just to safegaurd because if this happens, I will install new locks and charge the tennat there and then.

Upon exit changes, I always deduct them as a revenue expenditure as a cost of letting the property out. I must admit I suffer the cost on this, but you get the tax releift or 40% or 22%.

Mr F

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I would charge them for the cost of changing the locks because you cant be sure who now has a copy and that is no fault of yours.

I also always keep the barrels/locks i change and use them at a later date on another property but charge for new locks. I do it myselve so it is still a lot cheaper to the tenant than getting a locksmith tp do it.

I get UPVC lock barrells from my local hardware store for about £10 and they are really easy to fit, just make sure you get the right lenght ones cos the doors are differance thicknesses (though you can make do if it is just a little bit shorter or longer just doesnt look good)

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Yep, DIY barrel change is cheapest option otherwise locksmiths charge around £50. Only happened once but had episode where someone was found to be living in the loft after new tenants moved in. A quick barrel change soon put a stop to that. Were the Police interested? Not a chance.

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  • 8 years later...

In future, If you will call the locksmith for repairing or installing a lock set in your room, you will have to pay him. In case, your tenant calls in the locksmith who installs or repairs any lock set for your room, the tenant is viable to pay for it. So, its  better that you might change the locks after the new tenants will come. Before calling in any Locksmith, you must inform the tenant about it. And later...they will pay for the new locks....

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Good heavens Sammy this is an 8 year old thread.

I have never changed locks when tenants leave and have never had a problem, neither do I expect to get a problem.

There are other far more important things to concern yourself with.

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  • 3 years later...

On the locks question.

All mine are euro locks, UPVC doors. But the barrels vary in legnth.

I keep a couple of barrels that I've labelled empty property and instal those in any property that has become vacant, takes a couple of minutes and no cost..

I can provide keys to any that have purpose to visit, viewing agents, workers...

On signing up a new tenant I offer them the option of a new barrel at £12 (I buy for between £6.5  - £9), they get 2 new keys, I retain 1. If they prefer to save themselves £12 then the barrel from the departed tenancy goes back in.


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I don't understand what you guys are frightened about. I 've never changed a lock on tenant change over in my life......I've got better things to do and plenty else to concern myself with.

Are you suggesting that an ex tenant of mine would keep a key, return at a later date and let themselves back in ? Why ? The property would be unfurnished, empty, probably unusable.......there would be no water or electric as that would be turned off and they would need another key to access it. If I'd already relet he property wouldn't they be refused entry by the new tenant ?

Don't understand......can some one explain please ?


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I think its a judgement call. If you had evicted a problem tenant, common sense dictates it would be good practise to change the locks. However if you had perfect/good tenants most landlords would think it not necessary. So that would be your black and white scenario.

Then you have your shades of grey in the middle such:

1.High turnover of tenants

2. Partners moving in with permission.

3. Tenants abandoning property.

4. Same lock been in for many years

5. Big households that have a number of sets of keys.

6. Households with teenagers (we all know they lose their keys).

7. Not getting the same keys returned at the end of the tenancy.

We photocopy the bunch of keys that are given out at the start of the tenancy to check we get the same back.


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A return of property can be vague, not all T's will serve notice and sign a surrender document.

Imagine you return to a previously vacant property to find an occupier 'who has a key'. The Police would see them as rightful after they say they are authorised by said T.

I have had T's live in such basic fashion that I know many people would be happy to just get a roof. Turning on utilities isn't a great problem to most, if turned off in the first place.

Then there are scenarios of revenge following a hostile end of occupance, I've had a few exT's that would like to see me suffer, and one or two that have used bad means for revenge. If they had means to access and cause damage they would.

Why leave any opportunity for low lifes to cause aggro when the prevention is so simple.

I did get tired of replacing locks as a matter of course for what could turn out to be a short tenancy, so I learned to charge, if they wish a new lock.

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Ok thanks. I can see now that there are situations where changing locks are a good idea. I live in a world where I am ultra picky about tenants. Most of mine work in professions.....teaching, engineering, health, IT etc or have impeccable references and tick all the boxes. In this scenario it's extremely unlikely that I'm going to let to a problem tenant or encounter any of the examples you provided. Only once about 15 years ago did I have a fairly minor problem with a tenant .......and I think I now recall that i did change the locks on the front door.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/10/2019 at 7:45 AM, Melboy said:

Reading the above and thinking about it I cannot recall ever changing the locks after a tenant leaves.

Me neither. 

Only recently changed a barrel in one rental as the key broke off in the old one. Property had been let since 1987 and this was the first time I changed the lock!! 

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Slightly different, but still locks.

For a pleasant change I was out on one my my sailing dinghies yesterday (Sunday).

Not that it's relevant I don't carry my phone and but I missed a call from a T at 14:02, and from his unofficially house sharing brother 6 minutes later.

I texed them both back at 19:04, enquiring as to if there was issue.  No response to those texts.

I called the T 8:10 this morning, but I know he can't take his phone onto the production line, no answer so I called his brother and success.

The front door lock had failed yesterday. They had called a locksmith who came out at 19:45 and replaced the lock, good sorted.

"He charged a hundred a.. er, er, two hundred and sixtry pounds." Clearly there is the expectation that I should refund this.

Remember this is destitute Accrington Stanley, not Mayfair.

During my fit of laughter I stated he (the T) had been ripped off.

"Andrew (name not changed to protect the innocent) is going to call you tonight."

So how would you persons deal with this expected claim of £260, bearing in mind that they pay well enough to be good T's, haven't pestered me with trivialities since the start of Tenancy March 2014.

And possibly more relevant, it is difficult to find non abusive T's up there and I would rather nail their frickin' feet to the floorboards rather than let 'em go.

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This highlights the urgent almost mandatory need.......when self managing property......to provide a 24/7 facility for emergencies.

* I provide not only my x2 phone numbers and email address I also provide the same for a second and third person who the tenants can contact IN AN EMERGENCY.

* I ensure that if I am not able to take immediate action to address any emergency i have contact details of reliable people who can handle the matter for me in my absence.......e.g. whilst I'm on holiday, sick, out sailing etc.

Failure to put a similar plan in place may result in your tenants presenting you with a repair bill for £260 or more !

My advice.....pay up against a formal receipt, claim it as a legitimate expense, put a plan in place to ensure it NEVER happens again.

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  • 1 year later...

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