Door Locks with no monthly fee?

18 Replies

Is there a digital door lock whose code you can change remotely, without a monthly fee? Our two STR's came with locks that require an extra monthly fee if we want to change them remotely. I'd like to find something that doesn't charge extra.

The reason those locks charge monthly is because there's an ongoing upkeep cost to maintain the software and communications network that are essential to being able to program the lock remotely.  I don't think you'll find a wifi-capable lock any time soon that doesn't come with a monthly fee.  (I have RemoteLock on two of my properties, the fee is only $.99/mo - pretty hard to beat.  The software interface isn't terribly efficient, but it performs its functions just fine)

That said, I think there are some locks that have a wifi function and no fee, BUT they require interfacing with a smart hub - and the cost of setting that up combined with the amount of tech knowledge needed/potential for things to go wrong made me give them a pass.  

I use Schlage Z-Wave Connect deadbolts in conjunction with a Wink 2 smart hub. If I had it to do over again I may go the route @Julie McCoy suggests as the up front cost for my two-piece system is (~$175 per lock and $100 for each hub) is substantial and you do have to do a little setup. So far they've been fine. But there is a bit more to manage and the Wink app is not my favorite. 

I'm so old school.  I use the locks and keys that came with the bank foreclosure.  The bank in New York I bought them from uses the same property management company for all the houses I bought.  The key is the same.  I even use the key to look at other properties for sale by the same bank.

@Paul Sandhu , your situation is so different.  You have a different kind of short term rental, and you are there.  I am in Illinois, and my vacation rentals are over seven hours away.  My guests (they are not tenants) have to get into the rentals at all hours of the day, so no one meets them to give them a key and let them in.  Instead of having my cleaning and maintenance crew change the door code each week, I'd like to be able to do it myself remotely.  

As for our local rentals in Illinois, we still use the old-school regular key for each unit too.

Thank you everyone for your suggestions.

I just started to use Schlage Sense about 2 months ago. This is different from the other Z-Wave products because it supports Apple's HomeKit.

The lock is connected to an AppleTV 3 and I can monitor and configure the lock remotely without any issue so far. Battery is still 99% after almost 2 month although I am not sure how accurate that is.

The reason I choose Schlage over Kwikset is it seems Schlage still is updating their App quite frequently.

You want the ERentalLock. It's what I use on STRs and traditional rentals too. There is no monthly fee, and no Wi-Fi required, and you can still generate codes remotely.

Let me clarify, because the "Wi-Fi not required" thing can generate a lot of questions.
Summary: You do NOT need to be connected TO THE LOCK via the Internet.
The lock does not need to connect to the Internet at all. However, you need to be connected to the Internet in order to generate the codes on the erentallock web site.

The way this works is that you setup an account with them and provide a master code. This code is then entered into your new lock by you, prior to or during the installation. The software in the lock and on their web site then uses this matching code as a hash to generate guest (and/or long term maintenance or housekeeping) codes based on time/date/duration.
It's a really brilliant system, and one of the few that I've found that don't require Internet access or monthly fees. It even integrates with my booking software now, so I no longer even need to manually create and send codes. If you're interested in that, the booking software I use is called OwnerRez and it's better than fantastic. It's saved me so much time and energy. I even moved to a hosted web site with them.

The only other one that I'm aware of is IglooHome locks and lockboxes. I actually need this type of lockbox too, but I'm not drawn to the style of the IglooHome lockbox. If they made one that looked more like a traditional lockbox, or if erentallock offered a standard lockbox, I would immediately begin purchasing those as well. 

Kwikset 910 use the same code until someone does something creepy then change it. Which basically never happens.

I decided it would be too hard to scale if I’m fooling around with locks. The time spend changing codes is better off spent looking at “prahduck” as grant cardone would say!

We use Remotelock as well - as previously mentioned they charge $.99 per lock per month but to pay annually it is $10.68.  Not sure how much you are paying each month for your locks, but I see it is as a small price to pay to use their online portal to be able to remotely set/remove codes.

@nancy bachety, sure, I market through several channels, but not as many many as I need to. And yes, I do take bookings through both Airbnb and VRBO. Right now I'm at about 85% of bookings through VRBO, 10% through Airbnb, and 5% through my own website.

If you do go with a non-connected lock please change the codes often, I often compare it to a hotel in that if the front desk told me the previous occupant's keys still worked during my stay I'd be sort of annoyed.

FWIW, we use ResortLock from Lockstate (no affiliation, just what we use) on all our properties.  Fairly low fee for what we get and we don't have to go through an automation system to make them work. (Although we do use automation for other things, mostly SmartThings.)

They aren't well reviewed on Amazon and the like, and I get why, but once you get them running, they only need Wifi to get new codes occasionally, I have it set to wake up and check twice a day to save on battery.

PM me if you have any questions on them.

Originally posted by @Garry C. :

You want the ERentalLock. It's what I use on STRs and traditional rentals too. There is no monthly fee, and no Wi-Fi required, and you can still generate codes remotely.

Let me clarify, because the "Wi-Fi not required" thing can generate a lot of questions.
Summary: You do NOT need to be connected TO THE LOCK via the Internet.
The lock does not need to connect to the Internet at all. However, you need to be connected to the Internet in order to generate the codes on the erentallock web site.

The way this works is that you setup an account with them and provide a master code. This code is then entered into your new lock by you, prior to or during the installation. The software in the lock and on their web site then uses this matching code as a hash to generate guest (and/or long term maintenance or housekeeping) codes based on time/date/duration.
It's a really brilliant system, and one of the few that I've found that don't require Internet access or monthly fees. It even integrates with my booking software now, so I no longer even need to manually create and send codes. If you're interested in that, the booking software I use is called OwnerRez and it's better than fantastic. It's saved me so much time and energy. I even moved to a hosted web site with them.

The only other one that I'm aware of is IglooHome locks and lockboxes. I actually need this type of lockbox too, but I'm not drawn to the style of the IglooHome lockbox. If they made one that looked more like a traditional lockbox, or if erentallock offered a standard lockbox, I would immediately begin purchasing those as well. 

Sounds amazing

So you don’t have to have any internet connection at the rental but you are still able to remotely change the access code for each new guest? 

Originally posted by @Paul Sandhu :

I'm so old school.  I use the locks and keys that came with the bank foreclosure.  The bank in New York I bought them from uses the same property management company for all the houses I bought.  The key is the same.  I even use the key to look at other properties for sale by the same bank.

So each guest gets the same key for the same house?

As well as it fits other houses as well? 

I use the Schlage Connect with Z Wave technology. Mine is connected through a wink hub. This is great for rentals and has worked fine for me. You can add/delete user codes and remotely lock/unlock door as well as see user activity.

Why not look into the August Lock system?? You can program individual codes for each guest. You can even sync it with AirBnB and VRBO so it automatically assign them. You can access it remotely to lock, unlock, set codes, check status, and even check history. I have them on several properties and they work great!

Schlage lock and Wink Hub

https://www.amazon.com/Schlage-Connect-Touchscreen...

https://www.amazon.com/Wink-Easily-Control-Device-...

FANTASTIC

Wink hub makes your home a "Smart Home" and the Schlage lock allows you to personally enter codes. It's easy for the guests to use (they don't have to install an app) and I just make their code the last 4 digits of their phone number.

I also STRONGLY encourage a Security System, we use the Arlo 2.

https://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-Security-Wireless-R...

Hope this helps!

Travis Rasmussen

Real Estate Agent and Airbnb Superhost