Rental Property Managers and Spare Keys
Keys are arguably the most valuable piece of security for a property manager. More than any other more complicated security asset or tenant evaluation, they are what keep your unit from getting damaged. Why? Because no one gets into your property without your permission and then that key.
Of course, the keys are the link between your renters and your property too. And though they also stand to lose a lot with lost or misused keys, your renters are also the most likely culprits to jeopardize the unit by losing their own keys or putting spares in the hands of others who can lose or misuse them.
So from your perspective, the more spare keys there are, the more likely someone you haven’t authorized could get into that apartment and damage it. And the more access your tenants give to people you’ve never met, the more likely someone irresponsible will damage something, or worse, the more likely a robbery could happen.
But tenants have to get into their apartments, and the fewer phone calls you get about lost keys the better. You especially don’t want urgent calls that require you to drive at an ungodly hour to let tenants into their apartments. And getting the apartment, and perhaps even the building, rekeyed would be a logistical nightmare, even if it would be on their dime.
Our recommendation is to be completely upfront from moment one about your rules for spare keys and lost keys. Recommend the tenant keep a spare key with a trusted family member or friend for safekeeping, but suggest the fewer the tenant makes, the better. Encourage them to store the spare key, rather than have the tenant or their friend using it frequently and losing it themselves. Make your preferences known about hide-a-keys, whether you are okay with it or totally against them.
Also, let them know you charge a fee for coming to let tenants in, and another fee for rekeying the apartment and the building, on top of the price of the service itself. But tell your tenants you are okay with them keeping one spare with their mother or someone they trust just as much, because you don’t want them making thirty spares “just in case,” and upping the chance someone could find one and break in. Stating the lockout policy in the lease is best, and go over it from the get go for clarity and peace of mind.