My Tenant Has Changed The Door Locks, Can He Do that?

Just a quick answer to an ever increasingly asked question: can tenants legally change the door locks? In short, yes.

The tenant does not have to give the landlord a key, but s/he must continue to allow the landlord reasonable access to carry out repairs. In the event that the tenant does unreasonably withhold access, the landlord can apply to the county court for an injunction.

If the tenant does change the locks they should preserve the fixtures and fittings. Any damages caused by the tenant maybe recoverable from the security deposit.

I actually once had a tenant that changed the front door locks. This was the outcome of her handy D.I.Y work:

Damaged Front Door

Crazy shit, right? The door was completely trashed. To her displeasure, I ended up using her security deposit to replace the door. You can read more about that dramatic saga here: I’ve Fallen Out With My Ex-Tenant Over Her Security Deposit.

Also, just a reminder…
It is the tenant’s right not to be disturbed or harassed while living in the property. Landlords are not entitled to enter the tenant’s living area without written permission as they have the right to use the property as their home. However, as mentioned, the landlord has the right to ‘reasonable’ access to carry out repairs for which s/he is responsible, but s/he should always ask for the tenant’s permission, and should give at least 24 hours’ notice (s11(6) Landlord and Tenant Act 1985)

More details here: Landlord’s Right Of Entry

7 Comments - join the conversation...

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Iain Hamilton2010-02-16 15:47:45

That is rather crazy photo, ok if they want to change the locks then yeh no problem, but not getting a professional in to do it!? We've never seen anything this odd over here yet..


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Adam Hock2010-02-16 23:45:02

I think, that's depending on the reason of what they do. But can be terrible thing if happen to me :D

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Jools2010-02-17 08:15:35

Thing is Iain,

If they do that to a lock/door they probably do not have the intelligence to call in a professional!


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Stuart John2010-02-28 21:33:55

I suite all of my door locks so I only need to carry one key. To stop the tenants changing them I round off the screw heads and I put a clause in the contract that lost keys are £50 to replace. Cheers. Stuart John.

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Jon2011-09-12 21:55:45

I'm a landlord and I always encourage female tenants to get the locks changed. In one case I paid for that myself as she was really hard up. If you don't do this then she doesn't know who might have a copy of the key and she's living in fear all the time. If I was a tenant myself I would always change the locks on day one. Even for a bloke it's creepy to think that the landlord could just walk in at any time. If you have taken a sufficient deposit then just let your tenants get on with their lives.

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Glen2013-01-30 12:27:15

I have no problem if the tenant wants to change the locks as long as they let me know first. I use a guy who has a great reputation locally, reasonable rates and does a great job. I send this dude round and the tenants pay (they want the change after all).

If I can change the locks when I move house then they should be able to as well.

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damian cornish2013-02-14 10:51:20

can i just clarify the crazy picture" that was no lock replacements that door was kicked off its hinges, trust me i can tell, so if anything its a " crazy photo" of a S*** repair!


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