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regarding installation of locks

Posted by bahnsidhe (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 22, 07 at 5:30

Hello, I'm new to this forum and actually found it when I was doing a search regarding the installation of extra locks.
My problems is this...
I've lived in my apartment for almost 2 years. When I moved in there were two locks on my door. One is a deadbolt ( you cannot lock your door at all when leaving without a key) the other is a chain lock. I never had any problems until my 2 year old discovered how to open doors. We live near a busy street and he was able to get out while I was cleaning the bathroom. I decided to start locking the chain lock during the day so that he couldn't get out. This is where the problem comes in. You can open the door with the chain on and reach your hand in and undo the chain.
I went out and bought a Master Lock 'Bar lock' which works similar to the way a chain lock does, except there is no way for someone to reach in and unlock it.
I wrote up a request to the Property Management co. asking permission to install this lock because the chain lock did not work the way it is supposed to.
I was informed by the Management that they were refusing to allow the install because the deadbolt was all I needed to safely lock my door. They also told me that they did not install the chain lock and said that they will be by to remove it. We live in an 8 unit complex. Everyone here has at least 2 or 3 locks on their doors and when I told the Management this they said that they will be by to inspect and remove any locks that they didn't install.
Although I don't live in a "high crime" area, we have had some major concerns here. Three of the tenants here have had cars broken into. Two tenants have had windows tampered with. A friend of mine had two of her tires slashed while parked in the carport after only a few hours visit.
We live in a College neighborhood and the students will walk through the property right in front of our doors or behind the apartment where the bedroom windows are. They are noisy and have been known to bust things and take things that are on our front walkway. My daughter has had 2 bikes stolen, the glass window of the fire extinguisher has been broken, and we have a 'bum' that frequents the lot behind us quite often.
The cops do not come out for "trivial" reports... they only take our complaints over the phone and I'm pretty sure that they never get followed up.
I've looked everywhere I could think of regarding whether I can install this 'bar lock' or not legally. The only thing I can think of that could back me up, is that I rented the place with 2 locks and they cannot remove a lock without replacing it.
I'm willing to go to the expense of doing this for them, but they seem pretty adamant about having only the deadbolt.
Any help here would be greatly appreciated.
I just don't feel safe with only one lock.
Oh and just a note... I don't have a peephole to be able to see who is at my door. I can look out my windows but I only have a limited view of who's at the door. So the bar lock would be an ideal security measure.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: regarding installation of locks

I think if in the first place you had simply asked the management to please move the deadbolt higher up so your child couldn't reach it (and remove the chain entirely as it's not one of 'theirs') you would have been fine. The mgmt has the right to decide which locks should be on doors (and deadbolts are very secure) because they need to be able to unlock all doors when necessary (supposedly in emergencies, but also at other times - hopefully arranged with you, such as when showing apts to prospective tenants). If you can still return the other lock to get back your money, do it, because the mgmt won't let you use it anyhow. I do understand that your neighbourhood isn't the greatest and that you think more locks are safer than one, but one good deadbolt is as good as you'll get for now, and more is not necessarily any better. Alternative would be to move, of course, but things may not be a lot different somewhere else as locks are still going to be up to mgmt.


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RE: regarding installation of locks

It sounds like the dope you talked to does not understand what a "chain lock" is. It can only be used when someone is home and would not interfer with access to the place when you are not there. For now I would suggest getting a wedgie doorstop for added securitty. If you wedgie it in with a kick of your foot a 2y/o probably cannot remove it.

I don't understand how a person could undo a chain lock fron the outside?? They don't make them that long. If yours was really long all you had to do was remove a few links from the chain. I had a friend try to tell me that a chain lock could be undone by someone reaching inside and undoing it, so I asked him to demonstrate to *prove* it to me. I had him stand outside the door and I chain locked it. He tried reaching inside with his chubby hand and fumbled and fumbled, twisting his wrist around and around. I ignored him for three hours while he whined and begged to be let back in. I guess I proved that I was not the bubble-headed idiot who thought chain locks really work. HA!

Chain locks are less secure than a slider bolt, as someone may be able to force the door open with a full body slam.

The part that is not making any sense here is; that you have a deadbolt for security and were using the chain lock to keep you child from undoing the deadbolt and walking out of the apartment. What was the problem with that arrangement?


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RE: regarding installation of locks

In many states, the landlord is REQUIRED BY STATE LAW to put a peephole on an apartment door.

And in some places, the landlord is required as well to provide a security chain on the door as well. And that chain must be in good condition--which means it must be short enough that a hand can't get through (and around the corner) to unhook it.

Check w/ your state's tenant-landlord authority; a search on the state's website, or on Google using your state name, and the terms "tenant" "landlord" "chain" and "door" will probably help you find this.


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RE: regarding installation of locks

Don't ask that the deadbolt be moved higher, you're looking at drilling holes in both the door and jam, having a hole where the prior deadbolt location was, and therefore looking at destroying an entry door.

It would be simpler and far less damaging/costly to simply have the chain lock moved up higher on the door, and set further away from the frame of the door so that a hand can't fit through there to reach in and unlock it.

If you look at your lease your landlord has to be able to enter that unit, especially for emergencies. If you're away and a pipe suddenly leaks/bursts, fire breaks out, etc. etc. they have to be able to protect their property (and it's of benefit to you too).

However, as a landlord I would be very concerned about the safety of a young child. I just had this come up at a house where the couple has a toddler who figured out locks. The storm door lock would pop open with a good push, they asked for a stronger lock and I gladly replaced the storm door handle that their little one cannot yet open. If and when the time comes that a chain lock is needed, I will OK it because it could only be in use when they were home, as bud mentions.

You should be able to come to some kind of agreement whereby your child is safe while inside the apartment and you are home, but if there is an emergency and you're not home Mgmt can access the unit.

A bar like this one might stop your little escape artist ;) There are also wireless door alarms out there (Radio Shack, hardware, etc.) where a sensor is put on door(s) or window(s) and a loud alarm goes off when any entry with an alarm sensor on it is opened. They are relatively inexpensive (under $30) and would give you a quick heads up ;)


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RE: regarding installation of locks

Sorry it's taken me so long to respond. I've been busy talking to several people about this issue.

"The mgmt has the right to decide which locks should be on doors (and deadbolts are very secure) because they need to be able to unlock all doors when necessary (supposedly in emergencies, but also at other times - hopefully arranged with you, such as when showing apts to prospective tenants)."

The bar lock works on the same premise as a chain lock. They are installed on the inside of a door and the frame. On the door itself is a "bar" with a knob at the end. On the frame is a "U" shaped bar that goes over the bar on the door. When it is in the lock position with the "u" shaped bar overlapping the one attached to the door, you can open the door only about 3 inches before it's stopped. The only way to apply this lock is if you are in the home. You can't lock it from the outside. So if there was an Emergency I would easily be able to let in whoever needed to be let in.

"The part that is not making any sense here is; that you have a deadbolt for security and were using the chain lock to keep you child from undoing the deadbolt and walking out of the apartment. What was the problem with that arrangement?"

Sorry for the misunderstanding here... I didn't write clearly enough, I guess I was in a hurry and my post was already to long.
I didn't have the deadbolt locked. My son and I had been taking a nap when my daughter came over unlocked the door from outside and came in. When she left she didn't re-lock it or wake me up and let me know that she had unlocked it. I woke up first and was in the bathroom cleaning my shower when my son got out. He just opened the door and left. The deadbolt is effective but I rarely used it while I was home. I assumed, wrongly, that the chain was all that I needed to keep my son in. Oh and yesterday he figured out how to unlock the deadbolt. So now I'm really stuck if they remove all the locks other than the deadbolt.

Right now SNAP, the organization that is managing these apartments, is having a meeting on whether to remove all locks on all apartments except for the deadbolts. I've talked to a few people in SNAP (Spokane Neighborhood Action Programs)that aren't directly connected to the Housing portion of the program and they have encouraged me to fight this. So I'm enlisting the other tenants help in this. I figure since it directly involves them as well they would probably want to know.
I also called a friend of mine who was a Cop for 15 years and now works for a Security firm based in Spokane. He told me to get in touch with the local COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) which focuses on crime prevention and educates neighborhoods on how better to protect themselves.
What upsets me is that this isn't just an issue about my child getting out... but someone getting in. The friend that works for the Security Firm asked me what kind of deadbolt was installed in my door. When I told him he informed me that unless the outside portion of the deadbolt is "flush" with the door all it would take is a couple of good hits with a hammer to break it off. My deadbolt extends an inch out from the door.
The good news is I'm making progress and gaining advocates that will help me with reports and will intervene on our behalf. I'll keep you updated.
Thanks so much for the help so far.
Here's a link to the picture of the lock... it's the second one down from the top. I showed the lock to SNAP as well so there would be no confusion as to what I wished to install.

Here is a link that might be useful: Swing Bar security lock


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RE: regarding installation of locks

I am still confused on this. Your daughter came by and left without locking the door, so your son walked out because the door was unlocked. OK. How does this make the chain ineffective?

If the door is chained, and I am assuming the chain is higher up than a 2/yo can reach, he can't get out. Why was there an issue having to get a swing lock and going and contacting the LL?

If your DD leaves, whether the deadbolt is locked or not, someone on the inside still has to secure the chain lock or the swing lock.

Train your DD to lock the door when she comes and goes so your son can't get out through an unlocked door.

Use the chain lock when you are home if he is able now to unlock the deadbolt. He can't reach it right? TRAIN him not to touch the deadbolt.

A swing lock like the one you link to, is not any more secure than a chain lock. The problem with either is that when you open the door to accept a flyer or talk to someone they can body slam the door and the screws will pull right out of the frame/door.


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RE: regarding installation of locks

The chain lock was locked. The deadbolt wasn't. People can unlock the chain lock from outside my door... so the chain is ineffective. My son is 2 years old and developmentally disabled... which means that some things he picks up quick and some things he doesn't.
Since the chain doesn't work the way it's supposed to (you shouldn't be able to unlock it from outside of the house) I want to install a lock that is impossible to unlock from outside. The swing bar locks is 1/4 inch thick brass on both pieces. Whereas the chain is 1/8 inch thick and apparently long enough to be ineffective.
You are right that I could train him not to touch anything and could make sure my oldest daughter knows to always lock up when she stops by (which she did know, she just forgot to do it). But in the mean time what happens? What if she forgets again? What if I haven't gotten my son trained sufficiently to not touch the lock? We live next to a main street that has traffic on it 24/7.
The point is, I'm trying to install safety measures that will prevent my son from being hurt. Anyone that has children knows that it can take a split second and they are gone. Even people that take extra precautions...
My door is solid wood on the inside with metal on both sides... it's unlikely that the screws will pull out that easily. Even on the chain lock they probably won't, but since the chain is only 1/8 inch thick it's more likely to bust then a solid piece of metal that's 1/4 inch thick.
I know I can't prepare for every eventuality but I'd like to at least make an attempt.
The ridiculous part is not only does SNAP not want me to install the lock, they want to take out the chain lock that is already there, leaving me with nothing but the deadbolt.
If someone is determined to get in my apartment I know there's not much I can do to stop them.... but at least I can make it harder.


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RE: regarding installation of locks

Well if the chain lock can be unlocked form the outside you can drill new holes and move it over, but you say that they are going to remove it so I guess there is no need to bother reintalling it.

You could get a deadbolt that keys from both sides but that could be a danger in case of fire or a need for swift emergency exit. I see them in lots of apartments in my area and even had an apartment with one once, but I am not sure they are legal code for apartments in all areas. I kept the key in mine all the time.

Someone suggested getting an alarm for the door. A cheaper alternative is to get a shop bell. Get a wedgie door stop. You can make one for free out of a piece of wood. If you are worried about your son exiting the apartment I would also make sure there are window locks on the windows. Children get curious and crawl out to investigate things.


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RE: regarding installation of locks

LOL... yeah I found out about windows when my oldest was 3. Townhouse apartment with bedrooms on the ground floor. That's how I know that sometimes no matter how hard you try to keep them safe they will find a way...
In this apartment I have a huge entertainment center in front of one window, a utility shelf in front of the other. That leaves two in the bedrooms that also have shelves in front of them. You can still open the windows, but anyone going in or out is going to make a lot of noise.
As to the deadbolt that keys from both sides... they probably wouldn't approve that if they won't approve a simple swing bar lock.
I called the local COPS and they are going to come to the apartments and do a crime evaluation on them. I figure a report from them would go a long ways towards persuasion. I've drafted a letter to the SNAP office and 5 of the 8 tenants have signed it.
With as much crime that is in our neighborhood requesting additional locks and keeping the ones we already have is a pretty simple solution.


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RE: regarding installation of locks

The chain lock was locked. The deadbolt wasn't.

How is that possible, when your daughter left and didn't lock the door? Who put the chain on while you and your son were asleep?


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RE: regarding installation of locks

I put the chain on before I went and lay down with my son. While we were sleeping my daughter came over and unlocked the door from outside. She reached in through the 3 1/2 inch opening and slid the chain off.She didn't re-lock it when she left. She also didn't wake me up or leave a note saying that it was unlocked so I had no idea that it was now unlocked. When I woke up I started cleaning the bathroom and was in the shower cleaning it when he woke up and left.


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RE: regarding installation of locks

"As to the deadbolt that keys from both sides... they probably wouldn't approve that if they won't approve a simple swing bar lock."

I can't think of any reason they would not approve of a dual keyed deadbolt other than; It is against fire code in your area OR; They don't want to pay for the expense of the conversion, but you yourself could offer to pay for it. A dual keyed deadbolt would not hamper the landlord's entry in any way.

Then in your post you say "I want to install a lock that is impossible to unlock from outside." I thought the issue was that your 2y/o escapes from the apartment??


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RE: regarding installation of locks

1. The person I talked to at SNAP stated that "one of the reasons they didn't want extra locks installed is because the deadbolts in this complex have one master key". So they don't want anything that prevents them access in case of an emergency. I informed her that the lock I wanted to install did not prevent access in an emergency, because the only way it could be locked was from inside the apartment. She then offered to transfer my call to her Supervisor so that I could discuss it with them. I got their voicemail and left a message. Since then I've called several times and each time got their voice mail. I've left a message every time asking for a return call and haven't received one. My next step was to send a letter explaining my position and asking them to reconsider. I am in the process of doing this now... just waiting for a report from the Local COPS program.


"Then in your post you say "I want to install a lock that is impossible to unlock from outside." I thought the issue was that your 2y/o escapes from the apartment??"

This lock would serve several purposes. If/when it's installed it will be installed near the top of the door. Therefor my son will not be able to reach it. Because it is thicker and more durable than the chain lock it's not going to be as easy to get in. Since it only allows the door to open up 2 inches before it is completely engaged, it prevents people from reaching in and trying to unlock it.
I've had a lock like this one in two previous apartments.
I chose this lock because I wanted one that would serve multiple purposes with impeding a landlord from coming in during an emergency.


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RE: regarding installation of locks

"I chose this lock because I wanted one that would serve multiple purposes with impeding a landlord from coming in during an emergency."

OK. Now I am really not able to make sense of any this. I'm done.


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RE: regarding installation of locks

sorry it was meant to say without.


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RE: regarding installation of locks

I went to look for laws in Washington State and Spokane, and found these things:

Unlike other states what require peepholes, Washington State's STATE law merely says "adequate locks and keys."

But that brings up the idea that your locks are NOT adequate. I think any city apartment dweller would say these 3 things are required: a deadbolt lock w/ a "bump-proof" Medeco (NOT a Segal) cylinder; a peephole; a chain. A bolt such as the one you were interested in would be extra. But that chain should work.

http://www.tenantsunion.org/rights/11/landlords-obligations
A landlord must:
0. 5. Provide adequate locks and keys.


Some cities and counties in Washington have enacted additional requirements. For example, the Seattle Housing and Building Maintenance Code requires that the locks be changed between tenants, and that doors have peepholes as well as deadbolts or deadlatches (SMC 22.206.140). You can check your own citys codes by calling the Housing Code Enforcement office.

In King County, deadbolts and peepholes are required.

You can certainly call the Tenants Union at the hotline without being a member. However, because the need is so great it may be quite hard to get through, so youll need to be patient and keep dialing in (206-723-0500).

Another source:

http://www.offcampusliving.wsu.edu/ltlaw.html


Fulcrum Institute Dispute Resolution Center: (Spokane) 838-2799

THE LANDLORD-TENANT ACT
Online here http://www.atg.wa.gov/LandlordTenant/default.aspx
or write to:?Attorney Generals Office?2000 Bank of California Center ?900 4th Avenue ?Seattle, WA 98164
Free copies of the Landlord-Tenant Law are also available at Pullman City Hall, ASWSU, and the Pullman Chamber of Commerce


http://www.atg.wa.gov/LandlordTenant/default.aspx
To Contact the Consumer Resource Centers of the Attorney General:
Statewide (800) 551-4636?Bellingham (360) 738-6185?Seattle (206) 464-6684?Spokane (509) 456-3123?Tacoma (253) 593-2904?Vancouver (360) 759-2150

http://www.atg.wa.gov/ResidentialLT/default.aspx

I understand the lock you want to use, and why--and it will serve all purposes. Since the unlockable "chain" type part if it can't be engaged from the outside when you leave (It must be flipped into place from the inside after the door is fully closed), the landlord can get in w/ his key when you are away. If the door is engaged, you are home, and he can knock and have you let him in.

If somebody shot you, then he could break a window, or use bolt cutters to get in, the same as he could w/ a chain.

As to the "master cylinder" part: they should be able to put THEIR cylinder into YOUR lock body.

my oldest daughter knows to always lock up when she stops by (which she did know, she just forgot to do it)
I live in NYC--this is just not acceptable on your daughter's part. I don't know how you get through to her now that she's old enough not to live with you, but this is one of the more inconsiderate and irresponsible things I've ever heard of from a city dweller.


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RE: regarding installation of locks

talley_sue_nyc: Thank you for the wealth of info you provided. Some of them I've already checked out. The first place I looked regarding locks was the landlord tenant laws. I found the same thing you did. I tried searching for our building codes and couldn't find anything that pertained. It doesn't mean it's not there... I just couldn't find it. Thanks for the suggestion on calling the Housing Code Enforcement office. I hadn't thought of that one.

My ex came over and looked at the chain lock to see why it allowed you to open it from the outside. (He works in construction) We discovered that whoever installed it didn't do it right. There is a wood frame around the door that is about an inch thick. This prevents you from attaching the "female" part of the lock horizontally. The part you put the chain into is attached vertically so it's easy to reach in and just push the chain up and out. The frame around the door makes it impossible to attach it right. I positioned my lock up to the door and it has adequate room to attach to the frame. I just have to make sure that I get the right screws so that they will go through the frame and into the wall far enough to be effective.

"I live in NYC--this is just not acceptable on your daughter's part. I don't know how you get through to her now that she's old enough not to live with you, but this is one of the more inconsiderate and irresponsible things I've ever heard of from a city dweller."

We are not originally from the city. I had to move here to be close to Emergency Rooms and Neurologists because my son almost died a week after he was born. We used to live in a small community that had about 2500 residents.
But you are right. Anyone with common sense would re-attach a lock upon leaving, especially if they unlocked it. We've had a lot of disagreements about this lately. I refuse to argue with her about her irresponsibility anymore so I've resorted to locking the deadbolt and putting my easy chair in front of the door so my son can't get out. It's inconvenient right now, but it's what I have to do. When she complains about not being able to get in easy, I reply that she's "old enough to be responsible but her brother is not, and if I could rely on her to be responsible than we wouldn't have a problem".
She's my daughter and I love her... but I've been struggling to like her since she turned 15 three years ago. LOL

By the way... what is a "bump-proof" Medeco (NOT a Segal) cylinder"? You lost me on that one... sorry if I sound dumb.
Thanks again tally_sue_nyc I really appreciate your response. It was very helpful.
Romney


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RE: regarding installation of locks

Very nice work, talley_sue ;)


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RE: regarding installation of locks

"bumping" a lock is opening it w/ a hammer and a blank key.

Some YouTube footage to look at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr23tpWX8lM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwTVBWCijEQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCtbSKaOl_g

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKAJ845IBPg


The Medeco-brand of key cylinder is one of the few that is bump-proof. The Segal ones are not (and the Segal brand is very common in big apt. bldgs bcs it's inexpensive).

I would say your best bet is to make the case that what they have isn't "adequate" (though they'd say that chain isn't their fault).


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RE: regarding installation of locks

I don't know if this could be an answer to your lock problem, but a dead bolt jaw has many advantages that a chain does not offer and like a chain it can only be engaged while someone is in the apartment so it would not interfer with the landlords entry when away.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dead Bolt Jaw


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