You might see a lovely house when looking through the keyhole, but can you change the locks of that very keyhole which is the gateway to your home? That's the question many renters find themselves asking, wondering if it's possible to get the locksmith out to change the locks on their rental apartment.
For one reason or another, you might find yourself considering changing the locks at your rental home. But how exactly does the process work? After all, it's not like you're asking the landlord if you can hang a picture; replacing the entire locking system is a pretty big deal.
If you're wondering whether or not you can change the locks at your rental apartment, you've come to the right place. In this guide, we're bringing you everything you need to know about locks and your rental property.
Can you change the locks in your rental apartment?
The short answer for whether or not you can change the locks in your rental apartment is yes, you can. In most cases, renters are free to change the locks in a rental property unless the tenancy agreement states otherwise.
The rental contract is a key (no pun intended) component in the process of renting an apartment, as it will detail everything you can and can't do in regards to the property – including changing the locks. Before you go about changing any locking systems, ensure that you have thoroughly read through the tenancy agreement first.
Why would you change the locks?
You are essentially in full control of the property throughout your tenancy and therefore have the right to change the locks in your home if you feel it's necessary. But why might you decide it's time to change the locks? The primary reason is that of usage. If it's a rental property, there's every chance that you're not the first person to live there.
Even though average tenancies are rising, with most people staying in a rented home for more than four years, turnover is usually higher in rental properties than it is in owned homes. While it's highly unlikely that previous renters would purposely keep sets of the keys, you might feel more comfortable knowing that you're the only person (as well as the landlord, but more on that later) who has a copy of them.
How to go about changing the locks
Even if there's nothing in your tenancy agreement that permits you from changing the locks, you should still run it past your landlord or the managing agent. This shows courtesy and lets them know your intentions, plus the reasons why.
In some cases, the landlord may even offer to front the costs to change the locks – though they aren't obliged to pay for any lock changes. You should also tell the landlord how many copies you plan on making and get a set for them or the property manager.
It's important that the landlord keeps a copy of the keys, in case of any emergency around the home which they need to attend to if you're not around.
What if the locks are broken?
Should the locks break and it's no fault of your own, then the landlord will be responsible for changing the locks on your property. Such a scenario would be the same as other reasonable repairs needed around the home during the tenancy.
If there are any issues with the locks, you need to notify the landlord or managing agent immediately, especially if doors aren't closing properly. They should then arrange for the problem to be fixed quickly, as broken locks pose a safety hazard to you and anyone else living in the property.
Lock it up
As a renter, you can enjoy greater peace of mind knowing that you will likely be able to change the locks should you decide to do so. Remember, however, that you should check the tenancy agreement first and always be transparent with the landlord and managing agent if you decide to install new locks at your rental apartment.