Should you have a master key system for your properties?
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Should you have a master key system for your properties?

| Apr 8, 2021 | Landlord-Tenant Law |

Landlords want to do all they can to protect their properties. One of the things that some do is have a master key for their properties. That way, if a tenant is locked out, they can open the door. If they need to make repairs, they have access to the property.

There are some downsides to having master keys, though, and you should think about them carefully before you decide to opt for one. Having a master key may be helpful to you, but it could also put your tenants at risk or create feelings of unease.

Security issues are problematic with master key systems

With master key systems, there are security vulnerabilities. For example, did you know that it is easier to pick a lock that has a master key system? It’s also simple to reverse engineer a key if any tenant or staff member has access to even one of the locks across multiple properties.

That’s a liability, too, because if someone manages to get a master key for the properties, then they could enter into any of them at any time.

Can your tenants opt out of the master key system?

Unless you mention that you require all of the locks to remain the same on the apartment or home, your tenant does have a right to replace those locks with their own and to opt out of the master key system. However, they cannot withhold a key from you. Instead, they will need to give you a key to the apartment with the explanation that they have changed the lock for safety purposes.

It’s essential to get a copy of the new key, because as the landlord, you need to be able to enter the home if there is an emergency or repair to be made.

As a landlord, it is your right to have access to a property, but you still have to protect your tenant’s privacy and avoid entering without notice. If your tenants feel that a master key system makes them too vulnerable, it may be worth discussing replacing the locks yourself, so you can have a copy of the keys that you need.