I just purchased an 8 unit apartment complex. I was handed a key ring with over 45 keys on it, none of them uniform.
Do you recommend that I rekey the locks as I turn my tenants? Rekey them immediately? Don't bother? I would love to standardize all of the locks so that i could use a master key to open any door - Am I just being anal retentive?
Personally I would change all of the locks to a master key and give the tenants two copies and after those two copies they are required to pay for any other copies made and can’t go to the local hardware store to get their own copy. I have one rental so I changed all of the doors that need a key all to the same key with the option of being able to re-key it myself. Will save money doing it this way in the long run as long as the tenant doesn’t damage the door handle.
It would be handy to have a standardized key! I keep a little storage bin in my car that opens on both sides, and has about 20 to 30 little divided sections. I keep all the keys in that, labeled by what they go to. It works well, but it would be so much simpler to have one single key.
I've used the Kwikset Smart Key system on my house, and the house I owned before this. It makes it so that the lock can be rekeyed, without changing it out. They're a little more expensive up front (just a few dollars each), but it'd be a time saver from having to always swap deadbolts. I've been thinking of switching to that system. The only concern I see is that I have to keep track of actual key codes, what key was on what lock, and make sure that no two locks end up the same. Right now I just have 4 or 5 old deadbolts in the back room that I cycle through.
I'd be interested in hearing how other folks deal with this issue.
I haven’t done it yet, but take a look at landlord-locks. It’s basically a professional multi-master key system like you’d see at a large office building or campus, but proved reasonably for 2 or 200 units. They mail you the lock sets and keyways, and you can swap or order new keys and keyways as you need them.
From what I’ve heard here and read online, definitely the way to go.
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