Key Idea: Change the Locks
Door locks on our home help make us feel safe. Just as you like to feel secure in your home, your tenants want to feel secure, as well. So, when it comes to the locks on your rental property, when can you change them and when should you not? We’ve got the lowdown on this key idea for you.
As a landlord, there are certain things that you will want to address when it comes to keys, locks and your rental property.
- Change the locks. You should never let a new tenant move into a property without changing the locks from the previous tenant. Not doing so can leave the new tenant and his or her possessions in an extremely vulnerable situation. Possibly even dangerous. Don’t take this risk – change the locks.
- Your tenants want to feel as if they are the only ones with access to the home. Sure, they know in the back of their mind that you obviously have access, too, but there should not be anyone else with the ability to gain access to a rented property of yours.
- Address at the lease signing that tenant may not change the locks without consulting your first. Makes sure your tenant signs, agreeing that you, as the landlord, must be notified if for some reason the tenant wants the locks changed. Then, you should change them, as you want to make sure you have a key to the property.
- Keep a record of keys. If you give your tenant two keys, expect those same two keys back upon move out. Ask that your tenant advise you if copies of keys were made.
What happens when your tenant loses his or keys? You will automatically want to change the locks. Regardless of where the keys were lost or how far away from the home this occurred, for safety reasons, change the locks. You want your tenants to feel safe and secure and you want your property protected.
As far as when you should never change the locks? When your tenants are still residing there, of course! Being a landlord does not give you the right to change the locks on a tenant you may be having issues with or a tenant who may be late on rent. Laws have a procedure in place for these situations – and it doesn’t include locking out your tenant.
Remember: when you rent your property to a tenant, your property becomes their home. Help them to feel safe and sound by ensuring they have fresh locks on the doors.
Marina Shlomov, a managing partner at ALH|Podland Realty & Property Management is the author of many articles on Landlording, Property Management, and Real Estate Investing. A residential builder in the state of Georgia since 1999, Marina is an investor herself. Her property management company is intended “For Investors” and “By Investors” for a simple reason – she knows what investors’ goals are and she works hard to reach their goals. In her spare time, Marina likes to spend time with her family, friends, garden, read and travel. Check her out at www.alhpodland.com. You can find Marina’s articles and comments at @rentalhomesatl on Twitter, on Facebook, Google+, Blogger. and YouTube,Bigger Pocketsand REI CLub and LinkedIn.