As a Southern Maryland rental property owner, you are probably aware that your residents often have serious concerns about their personal safety. When new residents move into a rental home, they may bring up questions about changing the locks to ensure that former residents or other persons with keys to the property will no longer be able to access the residence. In a couple of places, local laws don’t require a landlord to change the locks between residents, and some property owners might feel that such an expense is unnecessary.
If the resident asks, do you need to change or re-key the locks?
The straightforward answer is no, you are probably not obligated to change the locks if asked. Still, you have to think about the possible consequences of not doing so.
As the property owner, you are responsible for giving your Southern Maryland residents the means to safeguard the home. When residents sign the lease, you give them with keys, garage door openers, or passcodes so that they can enter the property but so that they can secure the property as well. Residents tend to produce multiple copies of their keys for family members or even neighbors, and they may not always remember to collect and properly get rid of these copies when they move out of a rental home.
If you don’t change or re-key the locks, and somebody gains illegal access to the residence, you could be hit with a lawsuit and be considered liable for damages. Especially in cases of domestic abuse, divorce, or familial disputes, or even if a past roommate is a concern, changing the locks between residents is a necessary step in avoiding legal liability.
Of course, the locks are just a component of the system of a rental home. Garage door openers, keypads, and other access devices are potential risks too. Residents may share entry codes with babysitters, repairmen, or others who need to enter the home when they are not there. Careful management of passcodes, remote controls, and so on must be part of your property management strategy, including changing codes or replacing remote controls as needed to help guarantee the safety of your residents.
At Real Property Management Gold, we want to ensure that your residents are the only people who can access your rental properties. That is why we lock changes between residents are a significant part of our property management services. Our approach is meant to protect you and your properties using the industry’s best practices. Contact us online or give us a call at 301-392-2172 today to find out more.