Are Outdoor Key Safes A Good Solution For Rental Properties? Nah!

Key Safes For Rental Properties

Over the recent years I’ve been approached by various ‘Key Safe’ companies, enquiring whether I’d be willing to help promote their gear (presumably, in exchange for financial compensation, although, the discussions never got that far).

I’ve noticed that these pesky pocket-size armoured safe houses have been growing in popularity, especially among landlords with Holidays Lets and AirBnbs, but I’ve always struggled to wrap my puny little mind around their effectiveness (which is precisely why I don’t have the stomach to flog them to you).

Is it just me, or have these solutions to “keyholding” actually sold their soul to the devil by compromising on security for convenience? Moreover, are these devices meant to provide peace of mind? Because they make me nervous.

Just to clarify, I’m not making a broad stroke statement here, I’m specifically talking about Key Safes as a solution for landlords and rental properties!

I get the appeal of them, I totally do! No doubt, they are a convenient tool to help with the exchanging of key(s), eliminating the need for a physical presence. Who doesn’t love a bit of convenience? I know I’d much rather sit on my ass in the comfort of my own home rather than meet and greet new tenants, or even worse, pay someone else to do it on my behalf.

But surely there’s a fundamental problem when a device designed for security is compromised for convenience?

The problem is: they look too piss-easy to break!

Isn’t this the elephant in the room?

I’m genuinely asking, because maybe it’s just me (it wouldn’t be the first time).

Key Safes are growing in popularity among landlords and some of them are even “Police Approved”, so you can see why I’m doubting myself, right?

I’m not going to name and shame anyone (because I don’t need to, they’re mostly all guilty), but I’ve scoured the internet for various Key Safes, and my standout takeaway is that I’m not at all convinced they can stand up against a few hefty swings of a hammer (a faithful tool for any self-respecting scumbag). Hell, some of them look like they’d crumble after a couple of heel stomps.

They genuinely seem like easy targets for those unscrupulous low-lives living among us.

The obvious flaw is, the metal casings don’t lay flush against the wall surface (i.e. they aren’t inserted into the wall) – they stick out – making them a prime target for bashing.

If they were installed flush, buried into the wall, we’d be having a totally different conversion right now. But they’re generally not installed like that or designed to be, presumably because that’s a considerably more expensive installation.

Also, it has to be noted, Key Safes don’t really seem that expensive (averaging between £30 and £80), so it’s hard to imagine that they’re built with the most robust materials.

Essentially, Key Safes just don’t seem all that “safe” [for landlords].

Am I alone here?

A better solution to Key Safes? Maybe! Just maybe!

While I don’t have the confidence to flog Key Safes to you, I am more inclined to suggest ‘Smart Locks’ as an alternative solution, which I believe provide the convenience of Key Safes (if not more) without compromising on security.

Yale Assure Smart Lock for Airbnb

I won’t get into the finer details right now, because I’ve already done that in my the ONE (and only) Best Airbnb Smart Lock I Can Recommend blog post. Check it out if you’re interested.

But as a brief overview of Smart Locks:

  • They are keypads that replace traditional key locks.
  • A pin is required to unlock the door.
  • No keys or fobs required.
  • They can be remotely accessed, which means the landlord can change the pin number between guests/tenants.

Surely it’s the superior solution? Yes, they’re more expensive than Safe Keys, but worth it, in my opinion. The average Smart Lock costs about £200, but I personally enjoy the Yale Assure smart lock (it’s the one in the picture above), which is selling for £300’ish on Amazon at the time of writing this blog post.

Final thought: before picking up a Safe Key to manage your keyholding solution, my question to you would be, is your primary concern security or convenience?

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Landlord out xoxo

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colonelburton 22nd February, 2024 @ 20:46

I considered one temporarliy for tradesmen access to do work when I'm away as its a 3 hour drive from London to the property. But ulitmately decided against it, if the key safe got stolen, regardless if there was a break in or not, I would forever be worried that when the tenant moves in there would be a key in someones hands other than mine and the tenants. Additionally I presume having one installed would void the property insurance if there was a claim. If the property is a HMO with cameras and regular cleaners or lanldord visits I can understand it. But for single lets, absolutely not.

















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