Smart locks on only 1 door of house with multiple entry doors?

5 Replies


I am thinking about switching to smart locks on a property that is far away so I can better manage it remotely. I have searched and there are so many forums about smart locks, but after going through several of them I have not seen any that address this question specifically. I have a property that has 5 exterior doors that enter the house. It is too cost-prohibitive to smart lock all 5 doors. Has anyone else done smart locks on a house with multiple entry doors to the same unit? Do you just do one smart lock on the main or most used door and not give out keys to the other doors?

Are all 5 doors regularly used? For my personal residence, the front door has a key that’s in a drawer somewhere. I only ever use the side door with the keypad lock.

Why not make one or two if the entrances ‘enterable’ and use the others as exit only doors or emergency exit?

I would give the tenants at least two ways to get in.  If the smart lock battery dies, or the tenant loses the mechanical key to the smart lock, or the PIN on the smart lock is smarter than the tenant is at 2:30 AM on Saturday or Sunday morning, or the smart lock manufacturer pushes a bad firmware update, or the local bad guys push a bad firmware update, then the tenant can still use a mechanical key on the side door or back door and get in the house.

For the lowest cost, you might have the smart lock on the main/front door with mechanical key A, a mechanical lock on the back/side door that they will probably use most often with mechanical key B, and then three keyed-alike mechanical locks on the other three doors that have mechanical key C.  Give the tenant keys A and B, but keep key C to yourself.

Another option for the mechanical locks is to install the kind where you can swap just the cylinder from the front with a special key.  They cost more up front, but once you have them, it only takes a couple of minutes per door to swap cylinders.  When you order the doorknobs, you can order two sets of cylinders, and then either leave the second set with your PM/handyman, or keep the second set and then FedEx them to a local service tech when you have a lost key or a tenant turnover.


Thank you for the thoughts. I am not sure how various tenants would use the doors, but I assume there are 1-3 that receive regular use and the other 2 not so much. 

I know there are many (including Airbnb/short term rentals) that use strictly electronic locks, some of which don't even have a mechanical key or any kind of backup. I would like to use an electronic lock (and not to have to change keys every turnover), but it is not cost-effective to put them on every door. I am just worried about tenants not having keys to all the other doors. It seems that would result in doors being left unlocked and/or...

I am fairly sure you can get mechanical locks that are always locked from the outside.  In other words, you always need the key to get in from outside.  From the inside, you can always grab the handle and open the door without a key (which is a fire/life safety thing), but you can't get back in without a key.

Put locks like that and a door closer on the doors that you don't want to give out keys to might help your concern that the tenants will leave those doors unlocked.