Your first and most important assignment as a landlord? Your resident’s safety. If your tenant changes your property’s locks without asking for clearance from you, always allow them the benefit of the doubt. Assuming that the locks being replaced were brought about by roommate difficulties, domestic abuse, divorce, etc., you’ll definitely want to clear out any risk of liability. This will not simply enable and help you to avoid lawsuits but also very well position you as a dependable landlord who is there for your tenants during hard times.
If your tenant replaces the locks on their own, discuss with them before starting off making wrong assumptions. Quite probably, waiting for a locksmith could make them frail and open to more episodes of domestic violence. Consider that your renters would only change the property locks to secure themselves and their belongings from theft, vandalism, and other dangerous behaviors.
Open communication with your tenants will ascertain you’re on the right side of the law. First and foremost, specify in your lease terms whether you will allow them to change the locks and if/when they must provide you with a new set of keys. Your authority over these clauses may be determined by state law. For example, California and New Jersey permit residents to change locks without providing additional keys unless it’s explicitly stated in the lease that they may not do so.
You’ll also really have to point out the need for your renters to give you the current set of keys so that you’re at all times able to enter the premises of your property in Exeter. Unfettered access will be needed to perform emergency repairs that could be harmful to the resident, their belongings, and your property.
The essential point? Your obligation as the landlord is to bestow working locks and keys when a tenant moves in. Then they take the charge. This indicates they’re under obligation for the replacement costs of keys and locks. As long as they stick to the procedures outlined in your lease or you clarify and talk to them to do so, you don’t go losing anything from their efforts to screen themselves and their property from harm or danger. In the event that you’re unable to perform an emergency repair due to a lock change, negotiate with the tenant as to whether or not you’ll deduct the cost of the repair from their security deposit.
Always document the renter’s request or notification of changing the locks and execute the appropriate actions accordingly as soon as you can. Documented communication should cover whether the tenant plans to render to you copies of the new keys or if they will restore the locks to their original condition when the time comes for them to vacate your property. If your tenant fails to yield to and cooperate with you or to set up a plan after an ample grace period, you must be sure to let them really understand that you will have to deduct the replacement costs from their security deposit.
One sure way to discourage tenants from changing locks on their own is by changing them between every tenant. It doesn’t really matter how ethical a foregoing resident was, they should never have the possibility of re-entry after vacancy. You should always have knowledge of who has access to your property to ward off being sued for a future resident’s monetary losses. Granting that keys are returned, you can never really be aware of how many copies were made, the people who they were given to, or where they currently reside.
You can believe in Real Property Management Seacoast New Hampshire to change locks before a new resident moves in. We also work all tenant communication to secure your Exeter property is protected and in safe hands. Call 603-343-2202 today to talk about all of our property management services and how you can gain from these.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.