Author Topic: Tenant robbed of keys - who pays for replacing door locks?  (Read 1953 times)

jinga nation

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My property manager relayed news that tenant's condo keys were stolen from her car. Tenant asked if the replacement costs of keys and locks could be deducted from next month's rent. The lease strongly recommends tenant to get a renter's policy (come to find out tenant never purchased one). This is a new tenant.

The door locks need replacing (main door, rear door, and storage closet). $110 including material and labor.

Options:
1. Accept the cost, part of being a landlord.
2. Accept the cost, let tenant know it's a one-time pass. Next time, tenant is responsible.
3. Split the cost 50/50.
4. Tenant pays.
5. Other???

Internet forums are generally stating 4, with some 2 and 3.

What is the opinion of Mustachian landlords?

Pennycounter

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Re: Tenant robbed of keys - who pays for replacing door locks?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2019, 11:22:44 AM »
If she requested that it be deducted from next month's rent than it sounds like she is accepting full payment.  If the terms of the lease are clear, then pass the cost along to her.

Rufus.T.Firefly

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Re: Tenant robbed of keys - who pays for replacing door locks?
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2019, 11:53:36 AM »
I'd go with option 3 contingent upon the tenant getting and showing proof of renter's insurance. Also, why is renter's insurance optional?

walkwalkwalk

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Re: Tenant robbed of keys - who pays for replacing door locks?
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2019, 12:06:15 PM »
If she requested that it be deducted from next month's rent than it sounds like she is accepting full payment.  If the terms of the lease are clear, then pass the cost along to her.
I read that as "deduct it from the rent I would owe you, the landlord", so the other way around.

Another Reader

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Re: Tenant robbed of keys - who pays for replacing door locks?
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2019, 12:36:03 PM »
What does your lease say?

This is not a repair or maintenance item that the landlord would typically be responsible for.  The renter's insurance deductible would likely be higher than the cost of rekeying the locks anyway, so that's not really a factor.  Read the lease.  Or, rather, get your property manager to read the lease they drafted and had the tenant sign.

GreenEggs

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Re: Tenant robbed of keys - who pays for replacing door locks?
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2019, 12:45:51 PM »
Just get the locks rekeyed.  I'd bill her for it.  How is this considered a landlord's expense?

AlanStache

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Re: Tenant robbed of keys - who pays for replacing door locks?
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2019, 02:05:34 PM »
New hardware is different from getting the current locks re-keyed; former is your expense, latter is hers. 

Daley

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Re: Tenant robbed of keys - who pays for replacing door locks?
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2019, 03:43:18 PM »
If re-keying runs around the same cost of installing new Kwikset SmartKey locks... install the Kwikset. Then, when the tenant loses her keys has her keys stolen again, you can just grab some spare rando throw-away Kwikset keys from the Lowe's or Home Depot locksmith desk, and have the property manager re-key the door in a few seconds. Also makes re-keying a rental after a new tenant way, way easier.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2019, 03:47:07 PM by Daley »

jinga nation

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Re: Tenant robbed of keys - who pays for replacing door locks?
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2019, 07:18:22 AM »
@Daley  I installed Kwikset Smartkey locks in my house in 2009. They're the best. However, I've had tenants fubar, dunno how, multiple times, so I use normal locks. Plus property manager's handyman threw away the smartkey locks one time, was infuriating, and had to dig up the agreement to show the clause they owe me as they didn't follow procedure. KISS for the rentals.

I talked to the property manager yesterday, after re-reading the lease. Tenant's car was stolen and trashed with drugs.

Turns out it was a request from tenant that property manager didn't agree with but had passed along (I won't blame the PM, she's awesome, just had a baby, and everything that goes with taking care of a newborn, lack of sleep, etc).

Explained to PM that:
a. lease does recommend a rental insurance policy
b. the condo keys were separate from car keys. Tenant has admitted her stupidity.
c. reinforced to PM that stupid inane requests from tenants should be filtered by her, it's her role as PM to separate needs from wants. But again, baby, lack of sleep, etc.
d. PM said she did tell tenant that's a no, but tenant adamant that message go to landlord otherwise tenant would mail me a letter (oooh... i'm waiting. snail mail is lovely /s)
e. first option is to re-key, otherwise replace with like for like. Turns out it's 5 locks so price is going up (3 door locks, 2 deadbolts).

Thank you all for your responses.

ETA: corrected Dicey to Daley.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2019, 10:17:21 AM by jinga nation »

Dicey

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Re: Tenant robbed of keys - who pays for replacing door locks?
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2019, 07:26:12 AM »
@Dicey I installed Kwikset Smartkey locks in my house in 2009. They're the best. However, I've had tenants fubar, dunno how, multiple times, so I use normal locks. Plus property manager's handyman threw away the smartkey locks one time, was infuriating, and had to dig up the agreement to show the clause they owe me as they didn't follow procedure. KISS for the rentals.

I talked to the property manager yesterday, after re-reading the lease. Tenant's the car was stolen and trashed with drugs.

Turns out it was a request from tenant that property manager didn't agree with but had passed along (I won't blame the PM, she's awesome, just had a baby, and everything that goes with taking care of a newborn, lack of sleep, etc).

Explained to PM that:
a. lease does recommend a rental insurance policy
b. the condo keys were separate from car keys. Tenant has admitted her stupidity.
c. reinforced to PM that stupid inane requests from tenants should be filtered by her, it's her role as PM to separate needs from wants. But again, baby, lack of sleep, etc.
d. PM said she did tell tenant that's a no, but tenant adamant that message go to landlord otherwise tenant would mail me a letter (oooh... i'm waiting. snail mail is lovely /s)
e. first option is to re-key, otherwise replace with like for like. Turns out it's 5 locks so price is going up (3 door locks, 2 deadbolts).

Thank you all for your responses.
Batsignalling @Daley. I can take no credit for his helpful response. FWIW, I completely agree with his advice ;-)

monarda

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Re: Tenant robbed of keys - who pays for replacing door locks?
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2019, 07:30:21 AM »
Re-keying should be $10-20 at the local hardware store. Why do you need to replace? Take the barrels out and rekey.

theoverlook

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Re: Tenant robbed of keys - who pays for replacing door locks?
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2019, 11:50:48 AM »
Re-keying should be $10-20 at the local hardware store. Why do you need to replace? Take the barrels out and rekey.
$10-$20/lock, times 5, plus labor and travel charges from a locksmith, probably $110 is too cheap.

BFive55

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Re: Tenant robbed of keys - who pays for replacing door locks?
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2019, 01:46:44 PM »
I'd give her a pass on this one. If it were me I'd feel like not only was my personal space violated via the theft but the landlord isn't having any sympathy. She didn't cause the theft, she's a victim.

What's more important... possibly pissing her off so after her lease is up she leaves and you have to go through finding a new tenant (and no rent money during a vacancy) or eating the $100 this time, kindly giving her a warning it won't happen again, and having a happy tenant who would be more inclined to re-up that lease when it's up?

I'd pay for it this time.

tralfamadorian

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Re: Tenant robbed of keys - who pays for replacing door locks?
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2019, 09:29:04 AM »
I'm a heartless SOB. This type of situation is what renter's insurance is for. Tenant is responsible for cost of re-keying and I would update the lease for the next go-round making renter's insurance mandatory.

Hotstreak

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Re: Tenant robbed of keys - who pays for replacing door locks?
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2019, 11:40:47 AM »
I'm a heartless SOB. This type of situation is what renter's insurance is for. Tenant is responsible for cost of re-keying and I would update the lease for the next go-round making renter's insurance mandatory.


This expense is going to be well under the deductible for most renters insurance policies.

Cassie

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Re: Tenant robbed of keys - who pays for replacing door locks?
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2019, 08:38:26 PM »
I would use locks where you punch in the code. No keys needed. When someone moves out you take out the code and put a new one in.

jinga nation

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Re: Tenant robbed of keys - who pays for replacing door locks?
« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2019, 09:16:07 AM »
I would use locks where you punch in the code. No keys needed. When someone moves out you take out the code and put a new one in.

I'd do this (have one at home).

1. Condo Association doesn't allow this, they want uniformity. No customizing the entry area to "prevent crime" (their words).
2. Lock is battery powered; batteries need replacing, can't rely on a tenant to do it properly, I'm not paying extra for handyman to replace batteries every few months.
3. Not in compliance with KISS principle.

Cassie

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Re: Tenant robbed of keys - who pays for replacing door locks?
« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2019, 12:01:41 PM »
I understand. We only have to change our batteries every 2 years. But condos have rules.