Author Topic: Electronic Locks on Rental Property  (Read 16078 times)

Scizzler

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Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« on: May 18, 2012, 06:50:31 AM »
I just wanted to share what a good experience I've had so far putting electronic locks on my rental property. We're renting out our town home (after moving closer to my wife's work), and I replaced the keyed locks to both doors with electronic locks by Schlage http://www.amazon.com/Schlage-BE365VCAM619-Camelot-Keypad-Deadbolt/dp/B000NJJ1MQ/ [MOD EDIT: REMOVED REFERRAL LINK]. Since the townhome is 40 miles away from our new place, having the electronic locks allowed me to simply give the keycode to our property manager, the carpet cleaner, HVAC tech, and chimney sweep (all required by our property manager prior to renting) without having to be present for the work. While the locks have a relatively high up-front cost, I've already saved a bunch of time and mileage costs, and I won't have to re-key the locks every time we get a new tenant. Our first tenant moves in next month, and I'll be deleting the code I've used so far and issuing him a new one.

« Last Edit: May 18, 2012, 07:42:33 AM by arebelspy »

arebelspy

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2012, 07:42:05 AM »
We got this exact same one (well different color, but exact same model) for our first rental.  And then again for second.  By that time we realized it's not cost efficient at all, and changing a few $5-10 lock and rotating them will save us way more money than spending $100+ a pop on these (especially considering a lot of times you need other locks anyways, for back doors, garage door into house, etc.)

They're certainly nice.

They're not worth the cost, IMO.  Maybe someone else will feel differently though, so thanks for the recommendation!
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Scizzler

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2012, 08:13:38 AM »
I certainly won't make my money back in the cost to re-key after tenants, so I'm with you there. But it's 80 miles and a two hour trip every time I have to drive there, so it has saved me a lot of time and mileage. In this case I'll pay extra for the time savings and convenience.

Sparafusile

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2012, 08:21:25 AM »
For what you want it for, wouldn't one of these be just as useful:

http://www.amazon.com/Liftmaster-377LM-315MHz-Garage-Keypad/dp/B000G7TAUS/

Cheaper and provides the functionality you need (delectable codes). Did I miss something?

arebelspy

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2012, 08:23:53 AM »
I certainly won't make my money back in the cost to re-key after tenants, so I'm with you there. But it's 80 miles and a two hour trip every time I have to drive there, so it has saved me a lot of time and mileage. In this case I'll pay extra for the time savings and convenience.

Yeah, I suppose if you're sufficiently far away (and/or you have a lot of tenant turnover), it would be helpful.

Either way you have to go out there to delete/change the code though.

What we ended up doing is leaving the one mechanical lock on our first rental, and we have the second - whenever one of our rentals has someone move out (or we get a new house) we pop that on while people will be there replacing carpet, painting, showing the house to potential tenants, etc.  Then, when they move in, we pop it back off for a regular lock and save it for the next house.

Once a renter is there, you don't really need it on (the tenant will need to be there to meet any handymen or anything anyways, so it's not needed for that), and so you shouldn't need it for that house again for a year or two.

When we have more than one house in that situation, though, we just use a regular combination lockbox on the other houses.
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arebelspy

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2012, 08:25:16 AM »
For what you want it for, wouldn't one of these be just as useful:

http://www.amazon.com/Liftmaster-377LM-315MHz-Garage-Keypad/dp/B000G7TAUS/

Cheaper and provides the functionality you need (delectable codes). Did I miss something?

If it has a garage (i.e. not a condo, etc.).  And if you're willing to leave the door from the garage to the house unlocked (otherwise they'd need a key for that, defeating the whole point).  Then that could work well.
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Scizzler

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2012, 08:34:01 AM »
Having a rotating pool of locks is clever. The keyed garage door opener is not a bad idea, but I'm not comfortable leaving the back door unlocked.

I travel a lot for work, so there are times I simply can't go to the property. For me it's been worth it. YMMV.

salmp01

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2012, 12:26:19 PM »
Iíve debated getting electronic locks on my rental properties.   I didnít because I wondered what happened when the battery dies (also, they are quite a bit more expensive).  Anyone have any experience with the battery dying?

I purchase Kwikset locks and these can be rekeyed in about 20 seconds.  When I need vendors to go there I just strap on a lock box to the front door and give the code to my contractors. 

cosmie

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2012, 12:35:48 PM »
In the electronic locks I've dealt with, there is a manual key override. So if the battery dies and you can't replace them right then, you just use the physical key.

I've gone on trips to cabin rentals in the Smoky Mountains, and they almost always used electronic locks. They were really convenient, as you order the rental online, they send the code. The cleaning crew uses the code to get in after you (there's a deadbolt while you're staying, so you don't have to worry about someone breaking in while you're there), then when they leave they change the code and give the new code to the owners.


salmp01

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2012, 12:38:19 PM »
So with an electronic key you would give you tenant a physical key in addition to the electronic key?  If so, are you able to easily change the physical key lock when the tenant moves out?

cosmie

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2012, 01:06:22 PM »
No, you generally would keep the physical key yourself as a backup if the lock fails and only provide the tenant with the electronic code. As for changing the key lock, the electronic mechanism is usually unrelated to the manual key mechanism, so you can rekey it as easily as a normal lock in most cases.

In regards to batteries, electronic locks work in one of two ways: you enter the code and a little motor retracts or extends the deadbolt, or you enter the code and the motor "releases" the bolt and you manually twist a knob or such to retract or extend the bolt. You have to keep up with batteries in the first instance, as a weakened battery may have trouble moving the bolt in certain conditions prior to being low enough to trigger a low battery warning. However, if it's one which needs to be manually turned to (un)lock, one 9V (or 4 AA) batteries will last for anywhere from 3-5 years without needing replaced. They also usually emit either visual or audible warnings far in advance of dying, so getting unexpectedly locked out is only possible if your landlord/owner didn't tell you that the constant red blinking means you need to replace the batteries.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2012, 01:09:08 PM by cosmie »

salmp01

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2012, 01:10:00 PM »
Thanks for the details!

Mactrader

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2012, 02:04:02 PM »
I've used these as main entry into my home for years now, and swear by them. I hadn't considered using them on my rental property before, that's such a fantastic idea and keeps things real nice and tidy from a management point of view. As this is my first tenant, I hadn't thought about needing to change the locks when they leave!

Scizzler

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2012, 05:43:28 PM »
The Schlage should warn you well in advance that the battery needs to be replaced, and the key will work regardless. I also looked into the Sunnect AP501, which has battery terminals on the outside that you can connect a 9V battery to in case the batteries die. You should get plenty of warning with that one too, although it moves the bolt directly as opposed to the Schlage, which means the batteries won't last as long. The Sunnect is way more lock than I need (and too expensive) for the rental property though.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2012, 10:01:26 PM by Scizzler »

arebelspy

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2012, 07:29:10 PM »
FWIW, one of my rentals has the original battery in there since 2008 and going strong.

Plus you'd figure you'd go in through the garage a lot of times anyways.
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Mrs MM

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2012, 09:26:19 PM »
We have an electronic lock on the front door of all our properties, including our house.  I'm not sure how much ours cost (MMM would know, of course), but I think it is the exact same one that is linked to here.  They really came in handy with rentals.

Keys are for suckers.  ;)

gooki

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2012, 03:39:44 AM »
My brother could do with these. He's locked himself out three times in the last year.

strider3700

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2012, 12:32:58 PM »
We have one on our basement door because it can be set to auto lock after 30 seconds or so.   We installed it after I forgot to lock that door while home and my then 2 year old let herself out...   It's really nice to not need to dig out my keys when arriving home with a kid or two in my arms.

Mactrader

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2012, 02:37:27 PM »
Now only if I were clever enough to figure out RFID and plant a chip in my wrist.

arebelspy

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2012, 02:50:13 PM »
Now only if I were clever enough to figure out RFID and plant a chip in my wrist.

That's a fun idea, until your neighbor becomes clever enough to build an RFID scanner.  ;)

Jokes/Paranoia aside, that wouldn't be hard to implement with an arduino, and having a chip put on your phone case, or in your wallet, or whatever.  I'd wager it's already been done.
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arebelspy

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2012, 02:12:30 PM »
Speaking of this idea, an article was posted today about opening a lock with NFC (or text):
http://gigaom.com/mobile/click-you-can-unlock-that-front-door-by-text-or-nfc/
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
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Scizzler

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2012, 07:41:04 PM »
Interesting stuff, although I can't see myself getting a web-enabled, NFC or RFID lock. Just too many security issues for my taste. I'd much rather open the door with something I know, instead of something I carry- especially if it can be remotely copied.

Ipodius

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Re: Electronic Locks on Rental Property
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2012, 06:55:31 AM »
Not sure if it's available / popular in the US, but in SA I know some rental companies put remote locks that can be opened by sending a text message with a code to the lock :)

http://www.securitywireless.co.za/GAuto.asp

(bad site and bad example, can't find a better one atm)