Easy locks to re-key yourself?

48 Replies

I'm trying to have to avoid paying a locksmith every time a tenant moves to re-key the locks.

Which locks do you guys use that you can re-key easily yourself?

Thanks!!

I just buy $10 doorknob/deadbolt lock and key set from a local store and install them myself. Check out Ollie's Bargain Outlet.

I think there’s only one. Smartkey from kwikset. Takes less than a minute. 

I use Kwikset SmartKey locks. Makes it easy to rekey the locks yourself in between tenants. Takes less than 30 seconds per lock and doesn’t cost anything. 

All my properties have kwikset smartkey locks. So easy a maintenance man can do it. LOL

Landlord Locks.  MFS (multi-family solution) - bottom left link on their website is what I use.  They are great folks to deal with too.  I have 1 key that gets me in every unit (master key).  I bought a couple of extra tumblers so I can just pull one out and change the locks in less than 10 seconds.  The tenant keys have Do Not Duplicate engraved on the key and the key is a special key that can't be made just anywhere even if they tried to duplicate.  I've been super happy with the set up.

I also use Kwikset Smartkey locks.  Can't be any easier.

Originally posted by @Wesley W. :

I also use Kwikset Smartkey locks.  Can't be any easier.

While they work for a small property,  they are not really appropriate for a multi-unit building as they do not play nice with key trees (master, sub-master, etc)

Originally posted by @Roy N. :
Originally posted by @Wesley W.:

I also use Kwikset Smartkey locks.  Can't be any easier.

Except they are not really appropriate for a multi-unit building as they do not play nice with key trees (master, sub-master, etc)

 I'm not sure what you mean.  I own nothing but MF, and they work just fine.   Smartkey locks do not have a master or submaster - it's one key per lock (or one key per several locks, if you have front and back doors or deadbolts).  The way it works is the LOCKS stay in place upon turnover, but the re-keying takes literally 30 seconds.  Apart from that they are no different than a typical setup, and there aren't any more keys than traditional locks.  Perhaps you are confusing this system with another method?

Originally posted by @Wesley W. :
Originally posted by @Roy N.:
Originally posted by @Wesley W.:

I also use Kwikset Smartkey locks.  Can't be any easier.

Except they are not really appropriate for a multi-unit building as they do not play nice with key trees (master, sub-master, etc)

 I'm not sure what you mean.  I own nothing but MF, and they work just fine.   Smartkey locks do not have a master or submaster - it's one key per lock (or one key per several locks, if you have front and back doors or deadbolts).  The way it works is the LOCKS stay in place upon turnover, but the re-keying takes literally 30 seconds.  Apart from that they are no different than a typical setup, and there aren't any more keys than traditional locks.  Perhaps you are confusing this system with another method?

I am not confusing the system.

As I said, they can work for small buildings, particularly where each unit has their own external entrance(s).  However, they do not work for true multi-unit buildings/complexes.

As an example, take an 90-unit complex comprised of three buildings:

1) Site master opens any door across the complex;

2) Each building has its own (sub-)master which opens all doors in that building;

3) Tenants keys open entrance doors and common areas (laundry, etc) in their section of the building in addition to their unit;

4) Service provider keys (kept in lock boxes) open entrance doors and utility rooms.

You cannot do this with Wieser/Kwikset SmartKey locks.

@Roy N.

I see.  Fair enough.

I was assuming someone who owned a 90-unit commercial apartment complex would not need to come to this forum to ask such a question.

Originally posted by @Wesley W. :

@Roy N.

I see.  Fair enough.

I was assuming someone who owned a 90-unit commercial apartment complex would not need to come to this forum to ask such a question.

Everyone needs to start their education somewhere.

Even if you own a small multi-unit building with common entrances, stairwells, laundry room, etc. you need, as a minimum, the ability for the Tenants' keys to open the common doors in addition to their unit.

@Clint G

I’ve been toying with electronic keypad locks. I would hold the master key. Tenant gets a code. When they move out, change/deactivate the code. Master set code can be changed and maintained to be the same number across all units if you wish. Schlage makes a nice lever one - not cheap but I’m hoping it’s the last lock I will ever have to change.

@Clint G. I use the defiant locks from Home Depot. They use the same key as kwikset. You can get a re pinning kit online and watch a few YouTube videos. I created our own master key system where one key opens every unit and changing the lock pins is a few pennies at max. The big savings came when I found a used key duplicating machine on Craigslist.

@Clint G. and all, have you looked into electronic locks? I’ve had August Smart Locks recommended. The idea being you can give out codes which are easily changed including codes for contractors which you can revoke. I’ve been considering them. Obviously more expensive. Thoughts?

@Kevin McGuire

I believe my brother uses these for his Airbnb. I'm not sure of the cost but if you have a lot of turnover it might be cost effective?

Thank you for all the comments! I think I'll end up with the kwikset smartkey.

You guys just saved me some money!

Originally posted by @Clint G. :

@Kevin McGuire

I believe my brother uses these for his Airbnb. I'm not sure of the cost but if you have a lot of turnover it might be cost effective?

Yes totally makes sense for that usage. 

Maybe overkill for residential.

Thanks!

@Roy N.

My tenants have two smartkeys. One for unit and one for shared areas.

I am switching all my properties over to Landlord locks. They are a few more dollars than the cheap HD ones, but are also built mush sturdier. Lock changes are literally 10 seconds. Plus, I have one master and don’t have to worry about multiple keys.

Love it!

@Clint G. Check out Landlordlocks dot com. Well made locks, easy 10 second cyclinder change by you and the agility to master and submaster. Excellent customer service

@Clint G, I’ve got 35 units over 4 buildings and 90% I’ve put electronic Schlage locks on. I’ve got a code, my maintenance man has a code, and the tenant can pick their own code and change it as they need to or want to. About $95 but worth it to avoid lockouts, lost keys, blah blah.

Originally posted by @John Harvell :

@Clint G, I’ve got 35 units over 4 buildings and 90% I’ve put electronic Schlage locks on. I’ve got a code, my maintenance man has a code, and the tenant can pick their own code and change it as they need to or want to. About $95 but worth it to avoid lockouts, lost keys, blah blah.

 John:

We have been moving to electronic locks as well - first on common doors.   In addition to not needing a bag of keys, being able to manage the locks remotely is nice.

Originally posted by @Kyle Godbout :

@Roy N.

My tenants have two smartkeys. One for unit and one for shared areas.

 I'd like you to be my competition ;-)

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