BiggerPockets


Re-keying after tenant change?

Forum Powered By:

20 posts by 13 users

To participate in forum discussions, create a free account or login.

Uwe K.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Nov 09 '12, 06:59 AM


Wondering if anyone is re-keying or changing locks when a new tenant moves in.
Are you never doing it, or always doing it, or only if not all keys are being returned. Which then begs the question: How do you know all keys are being returned since there might have been copies made.
What of common area doors, like the back exterior door leading to a hallway of a duplex.
If a new tenant requests a change, do you charge them?



Kyle J. Donor

Real Estate Investor from Northern, California

Nov 09 '12, 07:07 AM
1 vote


I have started installing Kwikset Smartkey locks in all of my properties. They are a little more expensive to purchase initially, but once installed they can easily be rekeyed in literally under 10 seconds per lock and they cost nothing to re-key.



Jon Holdman Moderator

SFR Investor from Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Nov 09 '12, 07:07 AM


Always. But I've converted over to the Kwikset smart key system so I can just rekey the same locks. Much easier than my old process of changing the entire lockset.



Jon Holdman, Flying Phoenix LLC


Bienes Raices

Orlando, Florida

Nov 09 '12, 07:35 AM


I've got the Smart Key on one rental, but someone pointed out some time ago on this forum that it would be easy for a tenant to figure out how to rekey the locks using the little Smart Key tool (which I believe is identical in every package), so I'm not sure if I'm going to keep using them.



John Chapman

Real Estate Investor from Dallas, Texas

Nov 09 '12, 07:39 AM


Realize I'm just echoing what everyone else has said but you should always rekey. Kwikset smartkey is hands down the way to go. I do it on all my rentals and it has revolutionized the process. I'm that concerned about former tenants rekeying because you have to have the new key in order to rekey.



Bienes Raices

Orlando, Florida

Nov 09 '12, 07:45 AM
1 vote


Originally posted by John Chapman:
Realize I'm just echoing what everyone else has said but you should always rekey. Kwikset smartkey is hands down the way to go. I do it on all my rentals and it has revolutionized the process. I'm that concerned about former tenants rekeying because you have to have the new key in order to rekey.

@John Chapman

I didn't mean former tenants, I meant the current ones...if you had nightmare tenants who tried to lock you out.



Bryan A. Donor

Real Estate Investor from Charlotte, North Carolina

Nov 09 '12, 07:56 AM
2 votes


absolutely! i'm still old school and change out locks, but i do use the same brand each time..meaning i just switch knobs but not the inside hardware..takes 15 minutes to do front and back door (i'm not that handy, so i'm sure others do it quicker :) ) you don't want to 'god forbid' have a tenant come back and break in when new tenant has moved in...that could be a huge liability..in fact, i used to think switching locks between apartments and houses and keeping a few extra sets to rotate as tenants moved out would be sufficient, but now i prefer to just buy a new set for 25 bucks each time.



Bryan A., Carolinas Revitalization, LLC
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 704-905-6510
Website: http://www.facebook.com/carolinasrevitalization
To see ongoing and upcoming projects, please like us on Facebook!


Jon Holdman Moderator

SFR Investor from Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Nov 09 '12, 07:57 AM
4 votes


If your current tenant want's to lock you out, a regular lock (non-smart key) isn't going to stop them.



Jon Holdman, Flying Phoenix LLC


Uwe K.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Nov 09 '12, 07:58 AM


Do you then keep a stack of older keys on hand that you rotate FIFO when you re-key? The new keys they sell are pricey.
Also, have you ever had the problem of a lock "forgetting" the new key and it can't be opened anymore? Seems to be more common than I am willing to risk.

I am considering getting a pin kit and re-key myself. Easy to do, though it takes more time than Smartkey. But I want to avoid having to go out, drill the lock open and replace it when the tenant comes back home and is locked out.

Bienes: Good point, but it is as easy for them to replace the whole lock themselves. Happened before.



Mark H.

SFR Investor from Phoenix, Arizona

Nov 09 '12, 08:05 AM


Originally posted by Bienes Raices:
Originally posted by John Chapman:
Realize I'm just echoing what everyone else has said but you should always rekey. Kwikset smartkey is hands down the way to go. I do it on all my rentals and it has revolutionized the process. I'm that concerned about former tenants rekeying because you have to have the new key in order to rekey.

@John Chapman

I didn't mean former tenants, I meant the current ones...if you had nightmare tenants who tried to lock you out.

I use the smart key system too. If the tenant locks you out, after they're evicted, you bust one lock to gain entry, then use the "reset tool" to re-key the other locks without a key. It's about $20. Still a massive savings in time and hassle.

On my last rental, I changed the key while the home was on MLS/lockbox , then changed it again for the tenant at move-in, just in case someone copied the key in the lockbox.

It's awesome when rehabbing, because I can give a (trusted) contractor a key & change it the next day. You can often buy those locks & deadbolts on eBay in 10-packs to save some bucks and score a bunch of different "master" keys in the process.



Bienes Raices

Orlando, Florida

Nov 09 '12, 08:07 AM


That's true, they could just change the whole lockset. I should have thought about that (duh).

Have you guys had any problems with the smartkey locks malfunctioning or breaking (not from rekeying, just from normal use)? There have been some reports of this online. That was my other reservation about them.



Kyle J. Donor

Real Estate Investor from Northern, California

Nov 09 '12, 08:11 AM
1 vote


@Bienes Raices I have not had any problems with any of the Smartkey locks I've installed.



Mark H.

SFR Investor from Phoenix, Arizona

Nov 09 '12, 08:14 AM


Originally posted by Uwe K.:
Do you then keep a stack of older keys on hand that you rotate FIFO when you re-key? The new keys they sell are pricey.
Also, have you ever had the problem of a lock "forgetting" the new key and it can't be opened anymore? Seems to be more common than I am willing to risk.

I am considering getting a pin kit and re-key myself. Easy to do, though it takes more time than Smartkey. But I want to avoid having to go out, drill the lock open and replace it when the tenant comes back home and is locked out.

Bienes: Good point, but it is as easy for them to replace the whole lock themselves. Happened before.

Get the "reset tool" and you can "re-program" the locks without a key if the tenant were to re-key them, or if they "lose" the program.

Buy the locks in "bulk packs" on eBay to get a bunch of different new "master" keys to program to. (they recommend a new key for programming)

And if you're worried about the physical lock being changed, they have screw-kits at landlord locks.com with a proprietary bit that can prevent that. Just a dab of locktite red on the threads & they aren't coming out without a fight.

I've never had one "lose" it's program, but I've always programmed to a new key, and taken my time. I could see getting a "bad" re-key if you were in a hurry, or didn't follow the instructions fully.



Bienes Raices

Orlando, Florida

Nov 09 '12, 08:53 AM


Originally posted by Kyle J.:
Bienes Raices I have not had any problems with any of the Smartkey locks I've installed.

Thanks Kyle...I think I'm going to go back to using them again.



Steve Babiak

Real Estate Investor from Audubon, Pennsylvania

Nov 09 '12, 11:21 AM


I actually do this while the new tenant observes! And then they sign a lease addendum that says the locks were changed, and number of keys they were issued. Not sure if a SmartKey change would convince them. I do as @Bryan A. said - use same brand and just change outside parts that have key slots; tenants comprehend that the old key no longer has any chance of opening locks that are physically changed this way.

I have seen the landlordlocks.com product demo'd in person, and that is the way to go once you get lots of units - mainly because you still can have a master key that accesses any lock. And even when you have mismatched locks because somebody used locks from different companies on the same door for knob and deadbolt - in that case, the landlordlocks replaces part of the lock so that once you've done that their system allows for changing the cylinder in a few seconds.



Steve Babiak, Redeeming Properties, LLC
Telephone: 6109082183
...


Rob K

Real Estate Investor from Michigan

Nov 09 '12, 12:38 PM


I do the same process that @Steve Babiak and @Bryan A. do. I use the Defiant locks from Home Depot. They are $30 for a set of two knoblocks and two deadbolts and also come with four keys. The have them for $24 if you buy at least four packs of them. I change the outside only as the others have mentioned and it is a fast process. I then use the old locks on a different house.

(I know that Defiant is not the best in home security, but if someone wants in, the brand of lock is not going to stop them.)

I also give them copies of keys instead of the originals. It's often that they lose a key before the lease is up. As far as copies go, I used to have them made until some high school dropout at the hardware store screwed up the copy and sent my into a fury. I bought a key machine off CL for $50. I buy key blanks online for 17 cents each. I can make keys in my garage as fast as the clowns at the store make copies and it's cheap. I can make as many as I want and if the tenants lose them, oh well. I will deduct $2 from their security deposit and make $1.83.

I looked into having locks rekeyed in the past and it wasn't worth it financially. I know landlords who spend a lot of money on master key systems, but a tenant who knows about locks can take it apart and make his own master key. I don't want to take that risk.

I always change locks when a tenant moves out. If the house sits for a while and workers or agents are going in and out, I change them again when a new tenant moves in. Better safe than sorry.



Bob Hank

Virginia

Nov 09 '12, 02:46 PM


I'm in the state of VA. I know the law is if you have the right to possess a key you have the right to copy a key. It dose not matter if the key has do not dup or what ever is on it. The key cutter might not have the blank and they might not duplicate a key because of whats on it.

Kwikset and takes about 3 minutes to change all the locks on a house.



Rachel H.

Nov 11 '12, 07:40 AM


I've used rekey services in the past. Though, I've heard good things about the Kwikset Smart Key system mentioned here which may be another option as well.



Dawn Anastasi Verified Moderator

Real Estate Investor from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Feb 11 '13, 08:32 AM


I change the locks on the house and keep the locks for a new property. I can then rotate between tenants/properties.



To post a reply or start a new discussion, create a free account or login.

Manage Keyword Alerts

View All Forums