Do you change locks?

28 Replies

Do you change locks or have them rekeyed every time a tenant moves out?

I change locks. about 20 dollars on amazon.

I have the Kwikset smartkey locks and a set of 5-6 keys. Anytime a tenant moves out I just rekey it to a new key. Takes about 10 seconds.

Used to change them. Now I rekey.  But, yes, absolutely change locks or keys between every tenant.

Hey @Jimmy S.  said, always change locks or keys between tenants.

Always. I wouldn't feel right otherwise. 

Also most lease forms have a spot to mark that you rekeyed it, or at least in California. 

The new Kwickset smart locks are nice, $50 for a set. But you can rekey in seconds, I just started doing this. 

Kwicket sucks. I stopped using them.

And no.. I don't.  I should but sometimes I forget. 

Which locks are 20 on amazon? 

I save the old one and cycle them to new places as tenants move.

I get new locks for front and back door for $20 a set and change them when I buy a property.  I would also change them when I change tenants, but I so rarely have tenants leave.

Yes I change between tenants. Don't like the Quickset I use, takes only seconds to rekey a lock and they are great quality... much better than the Quickset system.

from a liability standpoint, i think you definitely should. Just imagine if a prior tenant walked right in and robbed or murdered the current tenants and you contributed by forgetting to change the locks

I buy sets of 6 Kwikset lifetime warrantee deadbolts and locking door knobs, I have plastic boxes that hold all six sets and I rotate them. I take the locks off the house and pull a set out of storage to replace them with. Most homes have less than six sets and the extras are kept in their box with the current address on it.

This program works pretty good for me, I tried the smart key lock sets on my own home and have been locked out several times before they replaced them with better built locks. So many times I purchased the smart key tool to fix them myself, then I found out how easy it is to break in with the smart key sets. Talk about a waste of money!

when buying a new property I install new locks the 1st time a unit is vacant. I always buy the same lock sets and then I'm able to rotate them with spares when I have a vacancy.

It works great on some properties where everything matches up. For example I have a triplex where each unit has 2 locks each. I have 4 sets for that building and just swap out the spare when I have a vacancy. This works out great because all I to swap is the knob part. The rest can stay in the door since they're all the same brand.

If my spare set at home doesn't match up with a newly vacant property I can have each lock rekeyed for $5 a piece at my local hardware.

I buy the Defiant locks at HD. You get two keyed entry locks, two deadbolts, and four keys with numbers on them for $29.99. If you buy in bulk *can't remember if it's four or six), the price drops to around $24.

I just change the outside keyed part when a tenant moves. Takes two minutes. Those locks can then go on a different house. I only buy locks when I purchase a new house. The other houses get the locks recycled.

Def change each time..Either rekeyed  for $7.00, recycled or pick up Kwikset pack...I'm considering smart locks, but finding it difficult to transition....The recycled is definitely the cheapest option, but need organized system.(use gallon plastic bag and keep locks/keys together)

If you already have several of the same type lock you can just switch the whole unit.

Landlord Locks will be what I use in the future.

Hi @Nate M.

I get a Kwikset SmartKey lockset from Home Depot. It allows you to program the lock to a new key when needed. The process is very simple (couple of minutes). You can program the lock to any key of the same type. Quick, in expense, and you can do it your self as soon as needed.

Always! I am in the "swap" camp, just because I seem to have acquired a bunch of extra locksets. I have gold & silver ones, so I can match whatever's needed. Don't forget Habitat ReStore - sometimes you can pick up a keyed set for a few bucks.

All of the above.... we rekey, swap out, or buy new. We have been changing our exterior door keyed handsets and deadbolts to a better quality. I conferred with our local locksmith shop as to which products hold up best. Their answer was Schlage or Kwikset with Satin Nickel finish. From our experience, they were right. The entry doorknob set is the first thing one sees when entering a home and does make an impression. A better quality lockset looks good, lasts longer, functions well and provides better security.

We always swap the lock-sets out with either recycled or new sets on every move-out. Sometimes it is a chore as certain properties have 4 locking knobs and deadbolts. Maybe 2015 will be the year we move to some form of smartsets.

Has anyone ever had a Smartkey forced as in the videos? It seems easy, and I have  a few of them around, but if it was common you think it there would be an outcry?

I just took a Smartkey cylinder apart, because I couldn't find what key fit it but I could find a video on how to rekey it without the current key. You can see why they can be forced: it depends on one tiny gear tooth for each tumbler. Unless they make the gears out something utterly unbreakable they're vulnerable.

I try to rekey them when folks move out.  I tried one entry code deadbolt but it has had problems with jamming.  I have changed out locks.  My realtor/property manager on some of my rentals is a lock smith.  He has been rekeying and making all the keys work on a master key.  Occasionally when renters move out of state I just leave the locks on.  I have one old house the locks are a challenge to get rekeyed.

I swap them out, sometimes buying new ones.  I used to use Kwikset, but found them defective and awkward for my teams.  Plus there is some risk when it comes to master key systems.  So I went back to the old fashioned way.  ALWAYS change between tenants (just common sense).  

as far as Kwikset, i love the concept, and if you are doing your own maintenance and aren't hiring it out, then it's ok.  Once you start hiring it out and passing around master keys, you can get in trouble if one of your maintenance guys gets on drugs or angry.  I haven't seen litigation issues with it yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if it has been a bases for lawsuit or if it will be in the near future.

Also, a little note on dead bolts, most states require the kind that have the nob on the inside.  I used to prefer the one that took a key for the inside and outside, but had to change them in some areas.  Also it's a fire risk for having your tenants or children burn up inside a unit.  


I use Landlordlocks. The keys are hard to copy at local shops, the cylinders swap out in seconds, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE having a master key! They just need to make some more fashionable locks for SFHs.

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