Do you rekey when turning over a rental?

104 Replies

The big box stores now sell Kwikset Smart Key (locks).  Instead of changing out the lock itself, you just change which key will open the lock.  Very easy to use/change keys, plus no hassles of removing the lockset and inserting a new lockset.  Cost is slightly higher than regular door locks, but typically run $30-50. 

They also have electronic locks that normally run about 100 bucks.  Just give each tenant a code, then after the tenant moves out, change/delete the code.  Both options are great. Plus, a property manager can have a "Master" code to get into each of your rentals without having to search for keys...if you so desire.

@Mary Mitchell

As previously stated, we use the ‘Kwikset SmartKey’ locks that make rekeying incredibly easy. For those who want to save even more money you can use an older set of keys on an entirely different house.

Here’s a 17 second video showing how:

@Mark Hughes It might be questionable but I was just disagreeing with the premise of "somebody's gonna come back and break in" because that just doesn't happen as often as people think. If I buy a house and I go to closing and I get a set of keys for it and I go to the home and all the keys work and the door lock's are in good shape I leave them. That's a scenario where I'm not going to change out the lock's it seems absolutely pointless to me. I would actually consider that a score and be slightly excited because I just save a 100 bucks. Of course if I have an eviction and I have to actually saw the locks off to get back into my own home then yes I have to change them because I just cut them in half. If a great tenant is moving out because their job is relocating to Michigan or something and all the existing locks work, I'm not changing them because nobody's coming back to break in. If I was a property manager that managed hundreds and hundreds of homes then yes my practice would be to change them out every single time but that's not my individual scenario.
@Mark Hughes And to answer the original question, no, I honestly could care less or even have a shred of worry about what I am posting. I do things my own way and I share some of my stories on this forum, everybody does things their own way and I encourage different viewpoints and different practices but it doesn't mean I have to agree with them all and vice versa. It actually feels great having no worry or concern maybe everybody should try it... If somebody wants to break into one of my rental houses because they got on here and viewed my post then so be it go ahead and break in and then I'll call the police and file a report and then I will file an insurance claim for damages...its that simple...

@Mary Mitchell we always rekey for new tenants. We use a land lord lock system. It allows us to keep the handles and deadbolts on the door. The only thing that get changed out is the cylinder. After the equipment is installed it literally takes 30 seconds to rekey a property, plus making or getting a new set of keys copied for the next tenants. Message me if you have any questions about the specific product.



I have transitioned to electronic key entries. Anytime a tenant moves out, I change the code. I never have to worry about lost or stolen keys again!

You will definitely be named in any lawsuit and you will have a lot of time and emotional energy wasted. That’s super expensive.

Just install digital locks and remove the issue. It’s 2019 now. Get rid of keys.

The programmable locks are at least $40 but typically closer to $100 and I would think the tenant would still want the key in case the double A batteries dies. A regular deadbolt is about $10. I could see maybe using the programmable locks on something like an airbnb but then I would also want a way to change the code remotely.

@George Skidis

As a former locksmith - I very much appreciate the detail you go into with your response.

If you have a significant number of properties to manage - getting a locksmith to set you up with a matrix is an incredible means of security management. Most corporations use features like this for this very reason.

Schlage tends to be the go-to brand for these types of services; their cylinders have 9 key depths vs kwikset having 5. When done properly, you can change a lock as fast or faster than a smart key kwikset system.

I’m not trying to endorse either brand; both have standards and math says that 9 combinations x 5 or 6 cuts in a key vastly increases security over a 5x5(6 in some kwikset) matrix. Think of KW as the residential level and Schlage as commercial.

Originally posted by @Julie Marquez :

Along with the rekeying question, how does everyone lock their doors? I do the deadbolt lock system with a passage lever so that no one can lock their keys in the house.

This is a great idea. I have done it on some of my units that were further away from home, but will be switching all to non-locking doorknobs on the front entry door as they turn over. I have had one tenant lock themselves out of the house twice in the last year.

Yes, always re-key for reasons already posted.

But, to each his/her own for the method chosen to change the locks. We all have different scenarios, preferences, and amounts of time & money we are willing to spend on our properties or in paying a 3rd party to do this for us. The end result is all the same..... different set of keys (or digital code) needed to open the locks for your new tenant.

Rekeying is cheap insurance and a good policy , however if someone wants in ,a typical doorlock is only going to keep an honest man honest . The assailant will easily find a way to get inside if they really want to steal ,rape ,or kill someone in the building . There’s usually half a dozen other ways to get into a house besides the front door

Originally posted by @Dennis M. :

Rekeying is cheap insurance and a good policy , however if someone wants in ,a typical doorlock is only going to keep an honest man honest . The assailant will easily find a way to get inside if they really want to steal ,rape ,or kill someone in the building . There’s usually half a dozen other ways to get into a house besides the front door

Yes if someone wants in they will get in. But I can’t stop that.

I can only control my actions.  As such I can stop my liability for negligence by rekeying the second someone moves out.  

Rekey but it is easy using  You just change the tumblers. Takes 15 seconds per lock.   You have a special master key that allows the guts to be pulled out and anew one reinserted.  They are numbered so you always know what lock number is on each house.  Plus you can insert a contractor key tumbler so that when they are doing construction you don't have to worry about meeting them or about them copying keys either.  When they are finished just remove the contractor tumbler and put in the new tenant set. All keys for all houses are different but they all match a Master key for you.  Now you only have to carry one key on your ring.

Make your life simple! 

I have multiple lock sets from units I've bought and my own a unit , pull the locks, throw them in a bag together with the keys and store them.... put a different lock in that unit....and rotate each time. So a used lock in a new unit.....Works for us small timers than only have a couple of units.....would be a PITA for people that have lots of units

I'm planning on going electronic next time I want to do a new lock

Using Mr. Landlord locks and the Smart Key system are both good systems. As a property manager, some of my owners use one or the other. If they do not have them installed, I change them to one or the other, their choice . It saves money for the owners as you do not have to purchase locks every time a resident moves out or have to use ones that do not look attractive from wear and tear or try to color match. Some of my rentals have 1, 2 or 3 outside doors.  Also I only use locking dead bolts not locking knobs. So the knobs do not have to be changed..

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here