Easy locks to re-key yourself?

48 Replies

@Bill Brandt These are amazing and proven to beat noncommittal break-ins (non-forced versus forced). They're nearly impossible to pick.

That being said, a forced break-in is "forced," and noticeable to the occupant, and there are much easier avenues than a door if someone wants in at any cost.

I like the Kwiksets because they allow me to key my own locks and confound the average opportunistic intruder. I understand that no lock on the planet is unbeatable over time, but for my own and my tenants' peace of mind, this is something I'm happy to invest in per unit.

@Nathan Hall

I think you meant to direct this to someone else? I was first to respond to OP and said kwikset is all I use...

Ps. In regards to your theory on break ins. Knock on wood, 20 years with 13 properties I've had zero break ins. Everyone of my properties has large sliding glass doors leading out to a backyard full of rocks. Why would anyone break in the front door.

@Roy N. Wouldn't you then just incorporate common area keys/a separate system? Or even keycards, in that scenario?

@Bill Brandt my bad, I did. It was the gentleman speaking about how they wouldn't work with 90+ unit complexes.

@Roy N. Electronic codes let everyone who has one, make another for someone else.

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.

 Do these have a backup keyed lock on them similar to the Kwikset electronic locks? Also, what are you doing for keyed locks on the door knob itself (if you even have locks on the knobs)?

I have a kwikset smartcode 910 on my short term rental.  Set up correctly with the Samsung SmartThings app, I can change the code remotely for each renter.

It also has the the smart key system which makes re-keying the lock a breeze.

Electronic deadbolt with a keypad. It’s worth the $100. You can enter multiple codes such as a master code for all properties that you don’t give out to anyone. Store contractor codes that you can provide and delete when the work is done. Easy.

I have concerns with all these electronic keypads you folks use.

First, here in Upstate NY we get a lot of rain, snow, sub-freezing temps.  Is anyone using these in this type of climate?

My other (larger) concern is...what happens if the battery dies in the keypad?  How long do the batteries last in a harsh climate?  Will they work reliably when the temps are way below freezing?  If someone is about to tell me not to worry, there is a "key backup" - well, that's just duplicating effort and we're back to keys.  :)

I can see the attraction of keypads for short-term rentals,  but I am constantly trying to harden my rentals.  We all know how rough tenants can be.  I see the electronics as another link that can break in the chain of functionality.  Maybe I am just old school, but I've seen lots of examples out in society where we use technology for technology's sake, and it doesn't really make it easier.  Especially with how fickle the systems on these devices are.

No system is perfect, it seems.

I agree with your concern about the batteries dying.  I have a beach rental, so I haven’t had to deal with freezing temperatures.  At the beginning of the season, I replace the batteries with energizer lithium.  For the last two years, these batteries have lasted the whole summer season.  

Just incase of battery failure, I do have a lockbox on site with a key for a door.  I don’t give out the lockbox code unless I need to, and so far (knock on wood) I haven’t had to.

@Wesley W. I haven’t started using them on my rentals, but I use a Schlage electronic deadbolt here at home in PA. While our winters aren’t quite as rough as yours, the freezing weather, rain, etc doesn’t bother it.

I have the model that uses 4 AA batteries. They last probably 8 months with being used multiple times per day. They start beeping when they start getting low, for probably 15-20 locks/unlocks, then will only unlock. So it makes it hard to lock yourself out unless you really ignore it.

The batteries are on the interior, so they stay warm - batteries don’t like temperature extremes.

Smartkey from Kwikset, they have them at Home Depot.  Key all of the doors with the same key every time you turn a unit.  You can rekey an entire house in 1 minute. 

Originally posted by @Victor N. :
@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

I use and mostly like landlord locks.  They have good customer service.  As indicated they support master key and submaster keys, common entry, offer same key padlocks, etc.

What I do not like is the extra cylinders.  I wish to swap the key was more like the Smartkey from kwikset.  I have way too many cylindars and our biggest complex is a quad.  I do not reuse a key at a complex (anywhere at the complex) until that key is at least two tenants past and so far have never reused a key on a unit.  This is just one unit.  This implies that I need a fair amount of keys with the associated cylinders.  We have less than 20 units and I likely have 50 cylinders not in locks (remember a unit often has multiple door).  I also have a unused padlock for most (if not all) of our key options.  How many cylinders  would I have if I had 100 units.  

In summary, I wish there was a solution that offered the features of Landlord Lock with the type of key swap of the Smartkey from kwikset where a new cylinder is not necessary to swap keys.  I do not know if what I desire is possible but I do know that I know of none of these best of both worlds.  If it is possible, it would be a great competitor to Landlord Locks and Smartkey from kwikset.

@Clint G.

Don't forget the cradle to reset the lock when someone messes up the rekey process. It's useful when you don't have a working key.

I like the smart key, but my property manager still lives in 1973, so he manually rekeys everything when a tenant leaves. When he first took over my properties, I asked him to rekey the smart key and he locked out every lock and no key would work.

The cradle prevented me from tossing four good locks.

https://www.amazon.com/Kwikset-83260-SmartKey-Reset-Cradle/dp/B00HWYCVT0/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?hvadid=73461277537225&hvbmt=bb&hvdev=m&hvqmt=b&keywords=kwikset+smartkey+reset+cradle&qid=1558297439&s=gateway&sr=8-2

@John Harvell what prevents a tenant from resetting all codes seeing they have complete control of the lock from the interior?

The last cabin we rented for a volleyball tournament had electronic locks.  We showed up and the code wouldn't work.  Took almost 10min to get someone on the phone that could give us another code.  And they didn't believe us, tried talking us through how to put the code in correctly (like we couldn't follow directions).  Pouring down rain but thankfully there was a covered porch...  I'm sure they work great but that cemented my love for landlord locks after that debacle.  

I've considered getting an electronic one for our house but we rarely use our front door.  I now have a key in the glove box of my new car since we came home one evening and the power was off.  I hadn't moved everything over from selling my old car and got bit, couldn't get the garage door open with no juice...lol  All my usual stuff I carried in the trunk and glove box was in a box just on the other side of the garage door.  Thankfully we didn't have groceries with us!

Another late vote here for Kwikset.

I have Schlage on my personal residence.  Those are fine too but the cost/ease of use and ready availability of kwikset is all I've used on rentals.

Originally posted by @Nathan Hall :

@Roy N. Electronic codes let everyone who has one, make another for someone else.

 I do not follow your question.   Having an access code (whether is it key code, a token on our phone, etc) does not grant the authority to create additional codes or delegate access to others.

Originally posted by @Wesley W. :

I have concerns with all these electronic keypads you folks use.

First, here in Upstate NY we get a lot of rain, snow, sub-freezing temps.  Is anyone using these in this type of climate?

My other (larger) concern is...what happens if the battery dies in the keypad?  How long do the batteries last in a harsh climate?  Will they work reliably when the temps are way below freezing?  If someone is about to tell me not to worry, there is a "key backup" - well, that's just duplicating effort and we're back to keys.  :)

I can see the attraction of keypads for short-term rentals,  but I am constantly trying to harden my rentals.  We all know how rough tenants can be.  I see the electronics as another link that can break in the chain of functionality.  Maybe I am just old school, but I've seen lots of examples out in society where we use technology for technology's sake, and it doesn't really make it easier.  Especially with how fickle the systems on these devices are.

No system is perfect, it seems.

We get a fair amount of winter up here (in Canada) as well ;-).

The Schlage locks with which we started did not power the deadbolts, but simply lock/unlocked them - batteries last around a year, but we change them every 6-9 months.  We also use wirelessly accessible locks that can be remotely controlled / updated from our building management system.

  

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

I have concerns with all these electronic keypads you folks use.

First, here in Upstate NY we get a lot of rain, snow, sub-freezing temps.  Is anyone using these in this type of climate?

My other (larger) concern is...what happens if the battery dies in the keypad?  How long do the batteries last in a harsh climate?  Will they work reliably when the temps are way below freezing?  If someone is about to tell me not to worry, there is a "key backup" - well, that's just duplicating effort and we're back to keys.  :)

I can see the attraction of keypads for short-term rentals,  but I am constantly trying to harden my rentals.  We all know how rough tenants can be.  I see the electronics as another link that can break in the chain of functionality.  Maybe I am just old school, but I've seen lots of examples out in society where we use technology for technology's sake, and it doesn't really make it easier.  Especially with how fickle the systems on these devices are.

No system is perfect, it seems.

We get a fair amount of winter up here (in Canada) as well ;-).

The Schlage locks with which we started did not power the deadbolts, but simply lock/unlocked them - batteries last around a year, but we change them every 6-9 months.  We also use wirelessly accessible locks that can be remotely controlled / updated from our building management system.

I use Schlage as well after changing to them on my own residence. They are much better quality than any other company I've used. Do you also use them for their wireless locks? Anything particular to keep in mind when using a wireless system?

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

I have concerns with all these electronic keypads you folks use.

First, here in Upstate NY we get a lot of rain, snow, sub-freezing temps.  Is anyone using these in this type of climate?

My other (larger) concern is...what happens if the battery dies in the keypad?  How long do the batteries last in a harsh climate?  Will they work reliably when the temps are way below freezing?  If someone is about to tell me not to worry, there is a "key backup" - well, that's just duplicating effort and we're back to keys.  :)

I can see the attraction of keypads for short-term rentals,  but I am constantly trying to harden my rentals.  We all know how rough tenants can be.  I see the electronics as another link that can break in the chain of functionality.  Maybe I am just old school, but I've seen lots of examples out in society where we use technology for technology's sake, and it doesn't really make it easier.  Especially with how fickle the systems on these devices are.

No system is perfect, it seems.

We get a fair amount of winter up here (in Canada) as well ;-).

The Schlage locks with which we started did not power the deadbolts, but simply lock/unlocked them - batteries last around a year, but we change them every 6-9 months.  We also use wirelessly accessible locks that can be remotely controlled / updated from our building management system.

I use Schlage as well after changing to them on my own residence. They are much better quality than any other company I've used. Do you also use them for their wireless locks? Anything particular to keep in mind when using a wireless system?

We do use one of the Schlage wireless locks ... and are testing a few others.   When you are looking for wireless sensors and things like locks or auto water shutoff valves, stay away from WiFi-based devices and look for those which use Zigbee or zWave.  WiFi is a power-hungry in comparison to Zigbee and zWave which are mesh networks designed for these purposes.

@Clint G. Sorry for the delay! Yes sir, these do have a backup key that we hold. As for the actual door handle we just but a normal door handle with no lock on it.

@Ryan Weeks , nothing actually. But in the four years I’ve owned property, I’ve only had one (last week actually) and she did it due to domestic violence concern and she notified me immediately. Maybe I’m wrong but I put a fair amount of trust on my tenants. Of course I do live in a more rural area and there’s prob a 3 degree separation between them and I!

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