"Do Not Duplicate" Keys

11 Replies

I would like to imprint the keys to our rental units with "Do Not Duplicate" to deter tenants and/or their guests from making multiple keys that can into the wrong hands. We supply all keys to tenants for our lock sets and will make duplicates for our tenants when needed. Does anyone see a problem with this? Good idea or not?

Hi @Marcia Maynard  I find that this doesn't work as the people at the big box stores (and smaller stores) don't care and duplicate the keys anyway.  

About 2 years ago, I had an extra set of locks from one rental that rotated them out after every move-out.  The thing I do  now is have the locks re-keyed after the move-out.  It's about $25 per door and well worth not having any issues later; and you have covered yourself if there are any issues.

Hope this helps, good luck and I hope you have a successful future!


Maybe someone can tell me of the negatives of my thought process but I personally would rather my tenants make themselves a few extra keys to have as spares or give to a someone they trust just in case they need. My logic is they won't call me if they get locked out and they're responsible for whoever they give out keys to. After they move out I change the locks and the old keys are worthless anyway.

@Marcia Maynard  ...Probably not worth the hassle..Most give spares to family for emergencies..And also kids/teenagers lose a lot of keys...

I wouldn't bother.  If they want keys, they're going to make keys.  Rekey when they move.  You might consider a 'smart lock' system that you can re-key yourself.

I've been master keying all the buildings I manage using landlordlocks.com.  It's been great thus far.  The initial start up is a bit pricey, but the per lock change makes up for it very quickly.

Thank you for the replies.

We always rekey between tenants, so that is not the issue. The reason for the "Do Not Duplicate" was to deter extra keys getting into the wrong hands. We don't mind providing tenants with all the keys they need plus a spare at move-in, or making more if the need arises.

We had an incident when a tenant was out of town, his ex-wife came to visit their daughter and took the daughter's key and made a copy for herself. The tenant came back and was not happy. We believe the ex-wife has been letting herself in while both the tenant and daughter are out. Just thought the "Do Not Duplicate" would be a deterrent. We are rekeying the unit now at the tenant's expense.

My father had "Do Not Duplicate" on his house keys and we could never find anyone to make a duplicate. Same with the U.S.P.S. mail box keys. Thought it would make it more difficult, but if it doesn't then maybe not worth doing.

I wouldn't bother with the do not duplicate.  Your situation sounds isolated.  If it was a vacation rental I could see using the do not duplicate.  If someone really wanted in the property the do not duplicate won't stop them.

Lowes has a machine that duplicates keys, so no matter what you imprint a copy can be made.

In my experience the "DO NOT DUPLICATE" would not be a deterrent because simply put, what would be the consequences if they do get another key?


Also like someone said above you can Mae duplicate keys on your own at lowes. I wouldn't waste your time dealing with that.

I think that you have already solved the problem by re-keying the locks at the tenants expense. 

As an investor you shouldn't be complicating your system based on a 1 off event like this. Keep it simple and if you have a tenant that can't manage their keys then you simply keep charging them until they learn the lesson.

Money is a great motivator as long as your consistent!


@Gualter Amarelo Spot on. This was indeed a unique event, a first in 19 years in the business. Thank you to all who responded. We will keep it simple and not change how we do keys.

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