Should You or Shouldn’t You Change Locks Between Tenants?

Happy young couple changing the lock to their front door|Downs Security Solutions.

Many landlords wrestle with the question of whether or not they should change their rental unit’s lock(s) between tenants. Since this is not a legal requirement in most states, you may not be bound by law to do it. That said, at Downs Security Solutions, we highly recommend doing it, regardless of the legalities.

Why You Should Change It

Depending where you live, your state may not require you to change your rental property’s locks when a tenant leaves. Many states do not. You are obligated to provide a functioning deadbolt lock on exterior doors, but this does not mean changing the deadbolt if it’s in a securely usable condition.

Check your state’s landlord-tenant law to know. According to the American Apartment Owners Association (AAOA), there are important differences from state to state. Regardless of what your law cites, it is a better practice to do it.

For your peace of mind, changing the lock is a wise, proactive decision. Here are a few all-to-common scenarios illustrating why it can pay off for you as the landlord:

  • If your old tenant made copies and gave them to others, you have no control over who has entry access.
  • If you evict a tenant, you could experience a case of tenant vengeance where he or she returns and damages the property or steals anything not nailed down.
  • If your new tenant is burgled or victimized by a former tenant, you could be sued.

Changing the lock each time a tenant moves out can add up, but the potential problems involved with not changing it can be even more costly for you. When you change the lock, you can offer your new tenant the most reliable security and give him or her a piece of your peace.

Smart Options

As mentioned, changing your rental property’s lock each time a tenant moves out can become a significant expense to you. To help combat financial stress, in lieu of replacing the entire deadbolt, we recommend a couple cost-efficient alternatives—rekeying or installing a smart lock.

If the lock has not been damaged by the tenant, simply rekeying instead is an equal solution. It costs much less than replacing an entire lock, and, depending on your lock, is a pretty quick process for our professional locksmiths.

Or consider installing a smart lock or deadbolt. Though it may be a little more of an investment up front, long term it will cost you less. You can handle updating it yourself within minutes. Depending on what type of smart technology you choose, you either rekey the lock yourself or reprogram the combination. Speak with one of our professionals to discuss your choices.

You or Your Tenant?

Sometimes it is tough to know when you are responsible for changing the lock and when your tenant is.

As landlord, you should cover the cost of changing locks when:

  • The tenant moves out.
  • You upgrade to a new type of mechanism.
  • The lock stops working, under normal wear and tear.
  • You make changes due to property management.

Your tenant should cover the cost of changing locks when:

  • The tenant requests the change due to roommate move out or relationship breakup.
  • The tenant or tenant’s guest damages or breaks the lock.

Call Us

Do the most effective thing all around by changing your rental locks between tenants. Long term, it can save you money and prevent a handful of complications. Call our Downs Security Solutions professional locksmiths here in Atlanta, GA, at 404-873-2515 to discuss how we can help you.

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