Have anyone gone Keyless

11 Replies

I'm tired of changing out my keys or rekeying.  I'm considering going keyless and changing all my deadbolts  (each one is roughly $55).  A concern would be that the batteries would be dead forcing my tenants to be locked out.  However, I have 3 doors for entry to the house so I don't seeing all batteries being dead at once.  Have anyone did this as I would love to hear your feedback on this?

I've done it on 2 of my properties and it is great! Since both of them are wifi connected, I see the battery status for them remotely and can change the batteries when necessary which is about once every 7 months for one of them and I'm guessing once a year for the other. The difference between the 2 is that the longer lasting lock has a tapered bolt which means the battery isn't in overdrive attempting to fully extend.

The piece I find the most frustrating with smart locks is the remote functionality via wifi. Knowing that functionality before purchase seems to be an impossibility since it relies on multiple product factors (i.e., the physical lock, the hub and the app software that communicates with the hub and lock). 

One of my lock / wifi hub apps allows me to easily set up guest codes with begin and end dates which is quite useful because I have fixed term leases of 3 to 9 months and sometimes even short term vacation rentals by the night. It is quit nice having a separate scheduled code for each guest / tenant.

The other lock / wifi hub app only allows me to lock and unlock the bolt remotely. Setting up guest codes must be done on the physical lock and it is a cumbersome process which does not allow me to set up a begin and end date. I thought that I had confirmed prior to purchase that I would be able to remotely set up scheduled guest codes but I checked with the lock manufacturer and I should have also checked with the hub software.

I wouldn't install most smart locks on a long-term rental.  I can see where they would have value for a short-term rental, like AirBnB or similar.

If I thought I needed a smart lock, I'd try to get one where it's just me and the lock - no cloud servers or apps in the middle.  I'd also use one that still has a mechanical key as a backup.  Cloud servers will eventually get hacked. Companies like Equifax and Capital One, who have enough money to pay for really good developers and IT security, have shown that they can't keep client data a secret. Why would a lock company be able to do any better?

On my rental, I have locks that have a removable cylinder.  There's a special key, that only I have, that releases the cylinder and installs a new one.  At tenant turnover, I just install a new set of cylinders with a different key.  I haven't done a turnover yet, but I estimate it would take me about 15 or 20 minutes to re-key the whole house.

Just switch to kwikset smartkey locks. They’re standard locks that cost the same as a regular lock but you can rekey  them yourself in less than 1 minute without disassembling the lock. 

@Tim Huynh

 Our smart locks are Yale locks. The YRD120 T1L with Z-Wave is the tapered lock which I definitely recommend. It is a lot less work for the batteries because it is not constantly jamming. I don't like the Wink hub/app that we got for this lock because all the app does is inform us about the battery and allow us to unlock or lock it remotely. 

BTW, both locks function well as locks even when the wifi piece is not working. 

Also, if the battery dies, the YRD120 has a 9 volt battery connection that can be used in an emergency. But with the battery level indicator available remotely, it really isn't an issue. 

One of our Yale locks is on our home so I definitely recommend them on long term locations. They are so much more reliable than keys! How many times does someone lock themselves out of a home...

Yes all of my properties are keyless. I use the remotelock 5i and I can manage all my lock codes, battery power, etc from their online app. I haven't had any trouble and the tenants change the locks.

Originally posted by @Tim Huynh :

I'm tired of changing out my keys or rekeying.  I'm considering going keyless and changing all my deadbolts  (each one is roughly $55).  A concern would be that the batteries would be dead forcing my tenants to be locked out.  However, I have 3 doors for entry to the house so I don't seeing all batteries being dead at once.  Have anyone did this as I would love to hear your feedback on this?

We’ve gone keyless on our A & B area properties.  We bought a bunch of kwikset smart locks In overstock and we charge a monthly fee for the smart service.  The tenants love it that they can control the door with an app.  We also throw in a video doorbell and smart thermostat. We give them access to the building Internet access, but they sign a waiver waiving any liability and that it’s a public Internet access and they have access to it, but it’s not secured.  Brings in an additional few grand a year in smart fees.  As we sell off our low income properties and move into redevelopment of buildings in A and B areas, we feel this is what the younger generation wants and will pay for the convenience. 

@Kevin Manz

I’m pretty sure they have a pro series where you can make master keys but you swap out the barrels (still easier and cheaper than locksmith, but overkill for me.)

I only have 13 properties with a current average stay of 3.65 years so I just switch between 3 keys. Most are still on first or second key. Once the last tenant on key 1 moves out I can toss that one and be back down to 2 keys. 

Here you go - https://www.kwikset.com/SmartSecurity/Electronic-Locks.aspx

You can rekey the lock with a physical key for a few bucks.  No need for a locksmith.  We're also testing the Nest x Yale (https://www.yalehome.com/en/ya...) locks since we partnered with a distributior who gets them pretty cheap in bulk.  The doorbells are Ring (https://shop.ring.com/pages/doorbell-cameras). We pay about 40 bucks for them in lots of 20. The theromostats are Ecobee (https://www.ecobee.com/).

Our team are also Ring and Nest Pro certified.  We will probably eventually move everything over to smart so we can make management easier and more effective over time.  

Smart locks are definitely the way to go. We started doing it for our Airbnb rentals and they have become integral to our operations. So much so that we ended up building our own tech platform for Airbnb hosts to automate their locks as guests highly prefer them.

We now have long term managers reach out to us as well about our platform. They want all the insight and control of their property.