can i change the locks on my rental apartment

Can I Change the Locks on My Rental Apartment?

You can change the locks in your rental apartment if you get permission from your landlord to do so. The landlord may want to approve the new lock and require you to hire a locksmith to ensure the quality and that the new lock is properly installed. After all, the lock is not your property if you are renting the apartment.

A question often asked on the rental side of things is, “Can I change the locks on my rental apartment?” While this is a super-simple question to answer for homeowners, it’s a little more complex for tenants. 

In the following article, we’ll be looking at the precautions you should take as you work through the answer. First, however, why would you want to change your rental locks in the first place? 

Why You Would Want to Change Locks

Yes, there are some legitimate reasons to request this option from your landlord. From criminal activity to property upkeep, here are the top reasons.

Preventing Criminal Activity

Changing locks on apartment units should be done every so often as a precautionary measure. Certain areas are more prone to criminal activity than others, particularly breaking-and-entering. 

While criminals don’t usually use keys to come into your apartment, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility. After all, victims of robberies know the perpetrators about 26 percent of the time.

Furthermore, updated locks can make it harder to break into an apartment in the first place. This serves as a deterrent.

Keeping Out Past Tenants

The churn rate on apartments can be high. That’s because many residents are just passing through or living their lives six months to a year at a time, or however long the lease dictates. 

Most past tenants are content to go on with their lives. They don’t think about going back to their old apartments. That said, locks that are not changed regularly run the risk of being open to anyone who’s lived there in the past.

They can walk in and out any time they want. For your peace of mind, landlords and property owners should be willing to change locks frequently. 

Keys Are Missing 

Most people will lose their keys at some point in their lifetimes. Usually, they turn up but in rare cases, it’s like they vanished off the face of the earth.

Have you checked in your car, throughout the apartment, in the loveseat or sofa, and in the cars or homes of friends and family members you’ve recently visited? Maybe you lost them at a restaurant or shopping center. 

If you’ve lost a key to your apartment and it hasn’t turned up in a few days, it’s time to think about changing the lock. Yes, you should do so even if you have a spare you’ve been using. A lost key makes you vulnerable.

Locks Are Too Old 

One final reason to change your apartment locks is that locks can eventually wear down. Tumblers dull and become hard to operate even with the right key. 

Locks that are too old or worn down are security threats and aggravating to operate. If you’re dealing with one, discuss changing locks with your landlord.

How to Change Your Rental Apartment Locks the Right Way

Now that we know there are legitimate reasons to make this request, it’s time for the next step. That includes taking the proper actions to protect yourself, your apartment, and your personal possessions from liability. Here are five considerations and actions to keep in mind as you move forward.

Go to Your Landlord With a Request

To change locks at minimal hassle, have a conversation with your landlord. Tell them why you are requesting the change but that you don’t want to move forward without their approval.

Usually, a simple heads-up is all it takes to get this issue handled swiftly. Don’t move forward if they fail to give you their blessing. That said, reconsider where you live if they won’t let you take a step to better ensure your safety and peace of mind.

Understand the Risks of Doing It Yourself

Doing it yourself, especially without prior notification, is not the best path to take. The apartment is technically not your property. Altering it without the express permission of the landlord or property manager can make you subject to legal action.

Protect yourself by having the conversation. Once permission has been granted, request that the landlord handle it all on their end.

Your landlord probably won’t even fight you on this. That’s because they want to maintain control of the security standards of their properties. Furthermore, consistency with locks will make it easier to replace other units as necessary.

Find an Experienced Locksmith

If the landlord isn’t working quickly enough to change the door lock, or if you have a more secure lock you’d like to install yourself, make sure they’re okay with it. From there, look for an experienced locksmith.

Locksmiths will not only move at a pace you’re more comfortable with but also know of the best industry options. Get their input before settling on a lock. Understand what the pros and cons are of each selection.

Make Preparations Ahead of the Day 

Whether working with a locksmith yourself or working with one that your property manager has hired, mark the date on your calendar. Be clear on how long it will take. 

Consider scheduling some time off so there is no confusion. Being there can ensure you have the key, there are no issues using it, and that the door is secure before leaving. 

Get Clear With Keys

You don’t need to know how to change a lock, but you should be aware of how many keys are in circulation after the job is done. It’s likely that you and your landlord will have keys, as well as anyone living with you. Beyond that, what’s the policy for copying keys, and when will you need to do it?

So Can I Change the Locks on My Rental Apartment? The Answer Is Yes!

So to answer, “Can I change the locks on my rental apartment,” the answer is a resounding yes. But doing so comes with a certain set of parameters that you’ll need to work within. 

Remember that when it comes to rentals, you are not the property owner. Any significant change done to the property should be done with the written permission of the owner.

Have rental questions or a topic you’d like to see covered? Contact RoomImpact today with your suggestions! 

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