dumb question about locks

janbanksJune 26, 2006


I have a stupid question. We are about to rent a house that is up for sale. We will live here until the owner finds someone to buy it. It was a vacation home for him. It's on the market for some time now and since he's never lived in it, he's rented it out in the past too. He said he would make extra keys for us but now I'm feeling weird about how many other people might have keys. Should I expect him to re-key the house? I wouldn't mind paying for the re-keying but would it be "out of line" to ask that the locks be changed, regardless of who pays for it? I have friends who have rented and several of them say changing the locks rarely happens and I should not be concerned about it. I feel like it's the FIRST thing that should happen. Maybe I'm being paranoid?



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Go ahead and ask ... the worst that can happen is he says "No."

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 6:17PM
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Not a dumb question and you are NOT at all paranoid. Your showing common sense. Most landlords re-key locks before a new tenant moves in. If it hasn't been done, I'd spring to pay for it myself just to be sure. I would never move into a new place that HADN'T had the locks changed.

Since the property IS for sale, you may have to tolerate the landlord showing the place when you aren't home. You might do what I did. Buy a locking file cabinet and store your most valued possessions in this. That way if the landlord brings someone by, you will have all your sensitive information tucked away instead of laying out waiting for curious eyes or hands to nose around.

If you really like the place, see if your landlord will let you do a land contract! Just a thought!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 10:36PM
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Not a dumb question by any stretch, well within reason, and you should request it. As a landlord, I change the locks between every tenant, without question. And I always inform new, prospective tenants that the locks have been changed. I also inform them that I have a key to the residence, and I'm the only one who has an extra key, and I'm registered with the police department as an off-site owner/key holder in event of emergency (fire, crime, etc.) . I can see with a vacation unit that the turnover rate is so high, it's not really feasible to change locks every two or three weeks. But if you're living there till the place it sold, that's different. It's just irresponsible in my book not to change the locks, and it's not all that costly (under $80 for changing front and rear tumblers).

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 7:17AM
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I echo not stupid. Responsible landlords do have the locks rekeyed. In my area it is required by a civil code. This protects the landlord also and can be a write-off for him too. Here, by law, your landlord is required to give notice to enter. Any decent person would make an appointment to show it to any prospective buyers. I still wouldn't leave anything of value sitting out. Just be careful and use common sense.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 2:47PM
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Last time I rented a house I paid to have the locks changed (about $60, neighborhood discount) and gave the landlord a copy. You should always know where the keys to your house are, and with a vacation rental, how would you know?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 10:25PM
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That was the first thing my landlord did when I moved in to my place. In fact he had it done right before I moved in. Definitely ask!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 6:51PM
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