Changing locks is fundamentally about protecting the safety of a residence and its inhabitants. However, changing locks is seen as a hassle, which is why many property managers fall behind on performing the task.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice, compared to owned homes, the risk of burglary is higher for rental properties in nearly every category. As a property manager, working with renters to ensure their safety is paramount to the success of your business. To maintain this safety, you should change the locks after each tenant moves out. Other less savory situations that necessitate changing or rekeying locks are eviction or abandonment.
Hopefully, you′ll never have to deal with unsavory situations, but just to cover all of our bases, below is a list of situations when changing locks helps maintain security:
#1: Change the Locks When a Tenant Loses a Key
It might seem overkill to change the locks after a renter loses just one key, but it′s a small price to pay to guarantee peace of mind for the manager, the owner and the tenant. While it′s unlikely the lost key will end up in the wrong hands, in the off chance that it does, it could spell disaster for all. When you′re dealing with prospective renters, letting them know that you take this extra security measure seriously can be a differentiator that demonstrates your commitment to safety.
#2: Change the Locks When a Property Turns Over
A landlord or property manager needs keys so they can make necessary repairs or investigate a suspected emergency such as a fire or flooding.
#3: Change the Locks When a Vendor Is Finished Working on the Property
Especially if you′ve just started using a new vendor or if you′ve had disagreements with one in the past, it′s important to recognize that vendors could have copies of your keys that you′re unaware of. When work is completed, hiring an independent locksmith to change your locks helps maintain a high degree of security. It′s also a good idea to be on-site to let vendors in and out of a building while you build a relationship with them instead of leaving a key in a lockbox and allowing all contractors to access it.
Ultimately, safety is one of the most critical considerations when renters are selecting their next home or choosing to remain in their current one. Tenants are fully justified in wanting to feel safe where they live.