Changing the entire lock on a short-term rental property every time tenants come and go would be prohibitively expensive for landlords. That’s why using a rent lock box for short-term rentals has become so popular.

With the rise of short-term rentals for business and leisure travel, many landlords work to manage a variety of properties that see many guests each month or even each week. This requires frequent security checks and adjustments to avoid potential problems.

Installing secure lock boxes for rentals allows short-term renters to access the property without needing to meet with management directly, and it simplifies the entire rental process. These are far from the only benefits you’ll see when working with rental lock boxes. Learn more about effectively utilizing these tools in today’s complete guide for landlords.

A Table Of Contents On Rental Key Lock Boxes

Short-term rental management requires landlords to approach traditional property access differently. Lock boxes are a standard solution. :earn more about how to use, manage, and monitor these boxes:

What Is A Lock Box?

What Is A Lock Box?

A lock box is a simple storage container used to hold a key. The device stays locked until the correct code is entered. Then, it opens to release the key.

Lock boxes are commonly used by realtors, but many landlords and property managers also install lock boxes when managing short-term rental properties. You may have lockbox experience when you travel to a rented vacation property.

Like all locks, there are many different shapes, sizes, and use cases for lock boxes. The type of lock box for short-term rentals isn’t the same from landlord to landlord, so learn more about lock boxes to determine the right fit for your own units.

Why Landlords Use Rent Lock Boxes For Short-Term Rentals

Landlords new to short-term rentals may wonder why lock boxes are necessary. Some assume that the best way to handle incoming and exiting renters is to meet them in person. Of course, this is an option, but is it the best one?

Here are some of the biggest reasons landlords use rent lock boxes for short-term rental management.

#1: It’s Convenient

Without a lock box, you must be at the property to meet your guest whenever you have a new renter. This requires coordination with guest arrival, adjusting for unexpected delays, and much more for you to add to your already lengthy to-do list.

Handing over the keys directly costs you more in the long run due to the time and energy required. Adding a lock box to short-term rental properties eliminates these unnecessary costs and makes the process easier for everyone involved.

Guests enjoy entering their rental with a lock box as they can choose their arrival time without regard to your schedule. Additionally, they can simply begin enjoying your property without any delays.

#2: It’s Safer

Contactless check-ins are increasingly preferred by guests traveling in a post-pandemic world. The ability to pick up a key, stay in a rental, and move on without needing a physical meet-and-greet is appealing to many renters. Guests may also feel safer entering the property independently as they want to feel in control of their situation.

#3: It’s More Secure

If you’ve previously hidden keys around your property for guests to pick up, you know there are risks associated with simply hiding a key. Lock boxes enable you to tuck the key in a similar, but much more secure, way. The chances of key theft are significantly decreased when lock boxes are used, and you can choose the security level by shopping around and looking at different lock boxes.

Types Of Lock Boxes

Lock boxes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and use cases. The correct lock box for your rental property will depend on the type of property, the door location, and the general accessibility of the unit.

Push-Button Lock Boxes

On a push-button lock box, renters press a sequence of buttons to open the box. These simple boxes open quickly and are relatively inexpensive. The biggest issue with this lock box type is the limited variety of codes.

Wheel Lock Boxes

Another type of lock box has a lock made up of individual scrolling wheels. These wheels must be turned to show the correct number on each wheel for the lock to open. While these models are relatively secure, experienced lock pickers may be able to break them open due to the physical movement of the gears.

Dial Lock Boxes

Do you remember what the dial locks on many padlocks on high school lockers looked like? Dial lock boxes are less convenient to open than the previously mentioned models but are significantly more secure. Dial locks don’t break or open easily unless the user knows the correct combination.

Electric Lock Boxes

Landlords increasingly utilize smart lock boxes to secure short-term rental properties. Electronic lock boxes can be programmed to open to a certain code, which can be changed frequently and remotely. These lock boxes also open via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, ensuring only your guests can enter the property.

Where To Install Rental Lock Boxes

Where To Install Rental Lock Boxes

Finding the right location for your rental lock box is as important as choosing the right model. Lock boxes should be easily accessible without inconveniencing neighbors or attracting the attention of would-be robbers.

No matter which option you choose, ensure all visitors to your property have clear instructions on accessing the lock box. This is especially important when you won’t be there to assist. Guests checking into your short-term rental don’t want to feel locked out and inconvenienced.

Option #1: On The Wall

Attaching lock boxes to the outer wall of your rental is a secure option. Even though it takes additional equipment and time to get the lock box mounted, you can easily choose a discreet yet accessible location for the box.

Option #2: Looping

Many lock boxes are designed to hook around the door handle — this is known as looping. This is very easy for visitors to find, and it’s also easy to use. The biggest downside to looping is that everyone passing the rental property will also see the lock box, which could be a security risk.

Option #3: Lockers

Another option that works well in shared buildings is to utilize a locker or mailbox to store the key. Lock boxes installed in these locations are secure, hidden, and don’t require anyone else’s permission to be put in as you might need for a wall-mounted lock box.

Best Practices: How To Use A Key Lock Box For Rental Property

Ready to get started with your own lock boxes? Review these top tips from experienced landlords and property managers about successfully implementing lock box technology at your rentals.

#1: Change The Code

Lock boxes with codes need to have the code changed regularly. In the ideal situation, this code changes after each guest to ensure security. Otherwise, the previous guest could return or share the passcode with an unauthorized visitor.

Make sure the lock box you choose offers easy code changing. This will make securing your rental much more straightforward.

#2: Avoid Busy Roads

Properties alongside busy streets and roads attract more attention and see more passing traffic than other properties. To keep your guests feeling safe and prying eyes out of their business, situate your lock boxes away from the main entrance or other areas visible from the street.

Try placing the lock box on the side of the house, behind landscaping, or even in the backyard or garden.

#3: Consider The Weather

Is your area subject to cold weather, high winds, or rain? If so, it’s essential to recognize that these weather conditions cause damage to some lock boxes. Lock boxes can get frozen or stuck due to weather conditions, leaving guests stranded. Choose a lock box with protection elements, such as a flip-top cover, to avoid this situation.

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FAQs On Lock Boxes For Rental Properties

Do you have some remaining questions about lock boxes for short-term rentals? Learn more in these answers to this topic’s most frequently asked questions.

Are key lock boxes safe?

Yes, reliably made lock boxes offer a safe way to pass keys to short-term rental visitors without needing to meet them in person. However, remember that lock boxes are not impenetrable.

Ensure you choose a lock box made from strong materials that cannot easily be broken, and secure it on a wall or door for best results. Also, follow the instructions closely when attaching your lock box. If it is not correctly installed, it may not function as intended.

Are lock boxes for rentals expensive?

Budget lock boxes cost less than $20, while high-end lock boxes can cost a few hundred dollars. The price you will pay largely depends on what features you’re looking for. If you’re satisfied with a secure yet simple lock box, you’ll probably be spending around $30 per box.

Landlords looking for the latest features, such as remote code reset and other smart functions, will pay more than $200 per lock box.

If the value of these lock boxes increases the rental frequency and guest comfort, it’s well worth the investment.

Can you put a lock box on an apartment door?

Yes, you can install a lock box on an apartment door. There are lock boxes that loop over door handles for a secure fit. These boxes don’t match wall-mounted lock boxes when it comes to reliability, but they are an easy solution when you can’t drill into a wall.

Remember that you cannot install a lock box to keep a current tenant out of a property. Doing so would violate proper eviction proceedings, so ensure you only install a lock box at the appropriate time.

What is the safest way to integrate a lock box for short-term rentals?

The best way to integrate a lock box into your overall management system is to add a smart lock box or smart locker to your building’s access control system. Since these systems oversee every linked door, device, entrance, and area, you can set it up to also control access to the contents of the lock box.

Many landlords, however, are not working with properties where an access control system is in place.

In that case, integrating a lock box is simple. All you need to do is install a door loop or wall-mounted lock box that guests can access via your instructions. This is safe, secure, and easy to do.

Set Yourself Up For Success

Have you figured out how to set up your short-term rental lock boxes?

Setting up lock boxes is an easy and important part of handling short-term rentals. Renters appreciate the ease and convenience, and landlords appreciate the time they save by not needing to meet every renter in person when they arrive.

As long as you keep the following in mind, you can successfully implement lock box technology at your short-term rental properties:

  • Consider where the lock box should be installed
  • Ensure you change the code often
  • Choose a model that fits your property type, mounting location, and expected use cases
  • Don’t forget to follow instructions when installing the lock box
  • Give renters clear instructions on how to safely and correctly utilize the box

It’s not hard to secure your short-term rentals with lock boxes, so what are you waiting for?