A tenant expects their home to be safe. And as a landlord, it’s your responsibility to provide safe living conditions for your tenants, warns BighornRentals.com. Your tenants should feel safe while living in the property. This, therefore, means making sure that all doors and windows are secure and that they have functional locks.
Failure to provide adequate protection from criminal intrusion, your tenant, depending on the state, may be able to:
- Move out without providing any notice and without liability for future rent
- Sue you for failing to honor your obligations under the landlord-tenant law
- Buy the locks themselves and deduct the appropriate costs from the rent
- Withhold paying rent until you’ve fixed the problem
Clearly, none of these scenarios is good for you or your rental investment. Door locks come in different shapes and sizes. With so many things to consider, how will you go about picking the right one for your rental property? Here are some things that you should consider when choosing the best door locks for rental properties.
Consideration #1: Security
Your goal is to buy a lock that provides your investment property with an adequate level of security. You want to buy locks that possess certain features. Such features are as follows:
- Provide adequate protection against forced entry from kicks and battering rams.
- Provide bump-key resistance.
- Are harder to overpower. You want to buy something that offers anti-drill protection.
Consideration #2: Key control
When you rent your property, it becomes difficult to control the key as the tenant can just duplicate it at the local hardware store. Even including warnings like “DO NOT DUPLICATE” hardly helps.
So, what’s the answer to this common dilemma? Consider using a patented key. If you make this investment, no one else will be able to make a duplicate.
Consideration #3: Rekeying
Always make a point of rekeying your property after every tenant turnover. Certain locks are fairly easy to rekey. A good example is the Kwikset SmartKey cylinder. These are made up of handles, deadbolts, and knobs.
The ease of rekeying makes it possible to change keys without even needing the services of a locksmith. Other types, such as the U-Change lock is that any rekeying usually compromise, albeit to a small degree, the security of the lock.
Consideration #4: Frequency of use
Understandably, a rental property has a lot more wear and tear. Since lock devices work from metal sliding over metal, the rate of wear and tear is usually high and regular servicing becomes essential.
You may also want to get a lock that can stand up to a higher frequency of handle and key turns.
Choosing the Best Door Locks for Your Property
Here’s our review of some popular options for landlords.
At first sight, this type of lock looks a lot like a standard door handle. However, upon closer examination, you’ll realize that it has a few unique features that you may find appealing. One such feature is the easily changeable inner cylinder.
When damaged or during tenant turnover, you can simply replace the cylinder with a backup version. Or, you can send it back to the company for repairs in exchange for a small fee.
Another advantage of having this type of lock is that they can all be linked to your accounts master key. This means that you’ll be able to access all of your properties with just one key when it becomes necessary.
That said, this convenience does come with a few shortcomings. For one, it’s risky to have one key having access to all of your properties. Can you imagine someone else having a master key, too?
|Affordable to have cylinders rekeyed||Need to replace existing locks to match master key|
|Easy to change out the cylinder||Require a larger upfront investment|
|All your locksets have one master key|
Verdict: Suitable for landlords managing more than 20 rental units.
This is another option that landlords are turning to these days. Just like their name implies, these types of locks use keypads. The locks have numbers that you can match to unlock the door. Depending on the specific type of keypad lock you use, you can also use a key as well.
Keypad locks come with a variety of benefits. For one, they automatically lock behind you. This means that there you don’t have to worry that your tenant has left to forget to lock the door when they leave.
Also, with keypad locks, it’s not possible for tenants to lose the key. Moreover, the majority of these locks allow for multiple passcodes. This means that even if your tenant locks themselves out, you can provide them a backup code to gain entry.
|Locks automatically||Needs power source|
|Prevents lockouts||Not all tenants will like keyless method|
|Can manage even if not local|
|Can set digital codes|
Verdict: Suitable for landlords who rent out property in multi-dwelling settings.
Kwikset Smart Keys
This specific type of key makes it easy to rekey the locks yourself without requiring a locksmith. This means that you can rekey your property when your tenant moves out.
With Kwikset Smart Keys, you need three things to rekey your unit: a functioning key, a learning tool, and a new key. Once your tenant leaves, you’ll only need to do two things. One, insert the functioning key and then the learning tool, which effectively ‘factory resets” the lock’s memory.
Two, you’ll then need to insert the new key to “teach” the lock what the new key will be. This whole process should take you less than five minutes to complete. Sounds pretty easy, right?
|Looks and works like a traditional lock||The lock mechanism can wear out over time|
|Can have a master key||Cost may be prohibitive|
|Easy to rekey yourself|
Verdict: Ideal for landlords that rent to medium- to long-term lease tenants.
There are many options when it comes to door locks and choosing the right one is key. Not only will the right door lock make it easier for you to get in and out, but this is also something that your tenant will be using every day. As a landlord, this provides you with the added ease of managing your properties more securely and conveniently.