Deadbolt on Detached Garage?

10 Replies

I'll be closing on my 2nd rental property this year.  The first rental came with renters so there was no need to change the locks.

But with this one I will be.

I'm currently leaning towards purchasing the MFS Icore Deadbolts for the front and back doors from LandLordLocks.  Then just putting passage levers on them for entry to prevent them from locking themselves out.  The keyless/keypad entry sounds good, but I don't think I've found anything with enough positive reviews to make me pull the trigger.  Both doors are exposed to Wisconsin weather.

The service door to the detached two car garage has a lock on the entry knob but no deadbolt.  I'm thinking it's probably a good idea to add a deadbolt to it as well.  My practical side says if I were living there, I'd want a self locking knob if I'm outside without my keys at least the bottom knob would be locked or ff their hands are full and they park in the garage they would typically close the garage door and then exit through the service door.

Any thoughts or should I just add a passage lever there too along with a deadbolt?

@Mario Cascio

We use a few of the Schlage keyless deadbolts (the ones that do not try to slide the bolt itself) and they stand-up fine to our winters.

Self-locking door sets on anything but a storage room are a recipe for unwanted "I locked myself out" calls ... it may be less of a problem on a detached garage, unless they walk out with their arms full, but the house keys still inside.

Thanks for the response Roy.  Which model Schlage keyless ones have you used? How long have they been installed?

We've used the Camelot and Century - both standalone and the older wireless (ZWave) model.  None of these have motorized deadbolts - they simply unlocked the deadbolt and the user has to turn a lever to retract the bolt.  By not motorizing the extension and retraction of the deadbolt, battery life is much longer and you do not need to worry about the deadbolt sticking if the door and jamb are a little out of alignment as the building shifts with the seasons.

We've had some of these locks in-place for 5+ years.

Thanks Roy.

I believe you are an advocate of LandlordLocks as well if I'm not mistaken. If I wanted to use the keyless entry (with backup key) at the most commonly used door only... and then use LandlordLocks MFS icore locks at the others would I end up having multiple keys to maintain for the same property?

Originally posted by @Mario Cascio :

Thanks Roy.

I believe you are an advocate of LandlordLocks as well if I'm not mistaken. If I wanted to use the keyless entry (with backup key) at the most commonly used door only... and then use LandlordLocks MFS icore locks at the others would I end up having multiple keys to maintain for the same property?


I'm an advocate of using a master-key / sub-key tree for buildings  - even 2-4 unit residential ones.  Even if you were to use an electronic lock (w/ backup key) at your external common entry, you can still use a master key for the building and have tenants keys work in common doors as required (entrance, laundry room, etc) without the need for multiple keys.    The constraint is that the locks must all use the same type of key (have the same keyway).   I believe LandlordLocks are UltraMax cores ... keyway is compatible with Kwickset (and some Weiser locks), but is not compatible with Schlage, Yale or {obviously} Abloy.

Though LandlordLocks is not presently a cost effective option for us here in Canada, I like them for apartment complexes with interior corridors - the bigger the building, the more they can reduce costs and ease turnover.  My only hesitation with LandlordLocks is I do not believe they have a grade 1 deadbolt which I like to use on external entrances ... however, these days you should be looking at electronic entrance systems on anything but the smallest apartment buildings.

I am always intrigued by tech and smart locks are definitively a "shiny object" for me. However, experience has tough me to keep things simple. We buy quality lock sets, just the standard set up and we move them from property to property when we have a new tenant. Cheap locks don't transplant well and a quality lock will stand up to task over many years. We also make sure that ONE key opens all doors on the property. Residents really appreciate that and it helps us with key management as well.

We had a few lost key situations and what I have been thinking about is to put a permanent lock box on the back of the house or the garage. It screws into the wall and this way you always have a backup key on site (for contractors or for a lost key situation). I am not worried about safety - the box is much harder to open than it would be to break the lock on the door.

Thanks for the replies guys.

Just to clarify, both of my properties are single family rentals. I'm probably overthinking this, but I'd rather invest in the right strategy now rather than reworking and/or spending more down the road.

And in the case of this newest rental, it will need new locks for the front door, side door and garage service door.

I guess I'm not keen on having multiple keys for the same property so mixing and matching the schlage with landlordlocks won't work.  

It would be costly to add keyless to all three entries.  The tenants would mostly use the side door since it's right next to the driveway and closest to the garage.

LandlordLocks has me thinking twice now knowing that they are Grade-2 and not Grade-1 locks.

Just when I think I have  game plan down, I fumble. :)

Marcus, the lock box with spare key is a great idea.

We use schlage camelot for outdoor garages. It has a backup key kept in a keybox. The thing about keyless entry is you don' t need to go somewhere to get the key, you just push the buttons. You can lock the garage routinuely. Otherwise we have a master key for us and they get thier individual keys. You can go to a locksmith and pick up a couple knobs keyed the same and also to your master. For padlocks we use the ones with number codes. No keys, although in really wet locations get something marine grade.

I have been using a Kwikset deadbolt with smart key on the front door of my personal residence for over a year now. The Smartkey feature allows you to change the key to any KW1 type key in seconds. It saved me from reordering keys when I was working to key all the doors on my house and outbuilding the same after a robbery last year (garage wasn't locked as I had just moved in didn't have a key and hadn't replaced the lock yet). I have shown quite a few people how simple it is to rekey. They make several models and have grade 1 deadbolts. They are also available at most home improvement stores.

Kwikset Grade 1 Deadbolt


Thank you for supporting us @ LandlordLocks.

We do carry grade 1 product. Whether it be deadbolts or levers.

If any of you have any further questions, please let me know.

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