Should I give my forgetful tenant my master set of keys?

Question

My tenant has lost multiple sets of keys, and has asked for my master so he can get new ones cut. I’m nervous about giving them to him – what do I do?

Answer

This is a tricky one – you don’t want to appear difficult and damage the relationship with your tenant by not helping them out of this sticky situation, but at the same time, they’re not helping their cause if they have lost multiple sets of keys!

If you lose your master set for the property, you are both going to be in an awkward spot, so it might be wise to keep hold of them – given their history with key-forgetfulness!

There are multiple routes you could take:

If it is not too much bother, it might be the simplest option to get a spare set cut for your tenant yourself using your master, and then give them the bill. Consult the tenancy agreement and make sure that if it states that they should have more than one set of keys for the property that you provide this many sets.

If you are concerned about the security of your property following the loss of keys (if they have lost them along with any forma of ID which could identify the location of the property), you may wish to change the entire lock at the entry point of your property. Many tenancy agreements cover the loss of keys – if yours does, you may be able to request your tenant shoulders the cost of this. If they refuse to pay, you have the option of deducting the cost of the replacement of the keys and lock from their deposit. Make sure you keep copies of the invoices and receipts though.

Your tenant is legally allowed to change the locks at your property. If you do not supply your master key to them, this may be the route that they are forced to take. In this instance, they are still obliged to provide you with reasonable access to the property to carry out repairs/maintenance. If they fail to do so, you can apply to the county court for an injunction.

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