Can tenants make copies of keys? It’s a tough question because as a landlord you may feel a little urked if a tenant is doing this.
A similar question was asked to Avvo’s chief legal officer, Josh King in this webinar with Zillow.
Have a listen and read the transcription below to hear his thoughts. At the bottom we will provide our thoughts as well.
Legal Disclaimer: The materials and information presented here were provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Zillow Group does not make any guarantees as to the sufficiency of the information included or its compliance with applicable laws. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. The opinions expressed in the audio and from the webinar are the opinions of Avvo and may not reflect the opinions of Zillow Group.
Transcription of the audio file above
Interviewer: I have a tenant who wants to give a key to the neighbor to care for her pet, but I don’t want the neighbor to have a key. Can I stop the tenant from giving keys to other people?
Josh: For the most part no. You can’t do that because, you know, when you lease the unit out to somebody, they’ve got pretty broad rights on who they’re going to invite in. I mean, they’re gonna have a party, they’re gonna have people over to celebrate something, they’re gonna have their friends, their significant others, whatever, including people that they want to come over and watch their pets while they are out of town.
And so, they have fairly broad rights to do that. The one caveat would be, if, you know, you’re in a situation where you have a specific concern, and again you would have to have a pretty specific situation where there’s, you know, I don’t know, like, if a known felon or someone who’s been, you know, engaging in pet-sitter robberies or something.
But again, it comes back to communication. Talk to your people about that. Say, you know, this particular person, I have some concerns and here’s why. It can’t be something that’s unfounded, but again, it comes back to being human in communicating with your tenants about what your concerns are. And maybe offering them alternatives. You know, you don’t have to use this service, you can go board your pet with Rover, or Pet Vacay, or any of these other services that will help care for your pets and keep them comfortable and safe without necessarily inviting this neighborhood burglar into your unit.
But ultimately, if push comes to shove, that’s something where again, your tenants, for better or for worse, have pretty broad rights in terms of who they’re going to let into the unit while they are renting it.
Is it illegal to make copies of apartment keys?
Josh lays it out pretty clear that the landlord shouldn’t be dictating who the tenant gives a key out to.
One thing to consider is the type of lock you put on the unit. There are digital locks that have eKeys that allow 24-hour access or temporary keys that you can manage.
The Kevo 2nd Generation lock is one example of a smart lock that has eKey functionality.
If you have unique concerns with your situation, you can search and consult with a landlord/tenant lawyer by clicking here.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below.