Who is responsible to pay to rekey locks? Not only do locks on the exterior doors protect a unit from unwanted visits, it keeps tenants and their belongings safe and secure. Changing the locks for various reasons is just part of a landlord’s regular duties. However, rekeying locks cost money and many landlords and tenants are unclear about who bears the cost in different situations.
This video helps explain when it’s proper for the landlord and the tenant to pay to rekey locks:
When Landlords Should Pay to Rekey Locks
Landlords should pay to rekey locks between renters. In other words, when one tenant vacates the unit, the locks should be rekeyed before they new tenant moves in. This will prevent the previous tenant and anyone they gave a key to form having access to the unit.
If the locks stop working for any reason, such as they are old and the tumblers stop turning, landlords should bear the cost.
Finally, landlords should pay to rekey locks if they are upgrading the locks to a new type of mechanism or otherwise making changes to help with property management.
Remember that landlords cannot change the locks on a tenant to force them to vacate the unit. They also cannot change the locks during the eviction process until the court issues a document returning the unit to them.
When Tenants Should Pay to Rekey Locks
Basically, anytime a tenant requests that the locks be changed, they should bear the cost. One common example include when a roommate moves out and the remaining roommates wish for new locks. Another example might be that the tenant gave a key to someone, like a family member or friend, and now no longer wants that person to have access to their unit.
Tenants should also pay to rekey locks if they or their guests somehow damage the lock, such as if a key breaks off inside it. They would also be responsible for the cost if they have lost their keys and need new ones.
It’s a good idea for landlords to include information about who should pay to rekey the locks in different scenarios so that tenants understand what to expect in each event.
Rekey Fee for Tenants
A landlord could go about this in two ways. They could charge a rekey fee of what it costs to have a locksmith do the job. If the landlord has landlord locks that easily rekey they can choose a rekey fee close to $50 – $100 for their time. Whatever the rekey fee ends up being make sure it’s addressed in the lease or added as an addendum to the lease.