charging for keys
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charging for keys (by 6x6 [TN]) May 24, 2023 9:38 AM
       charging for keys (by LisaFL [FL]) May 24, 2023 9:44 AM
       charging for keys (by Steve [MA]) May 24, 2023 9:47 AM
       charging for keys (by Vee [OH]) May 24, 2023 9:52 AM
       charging for keys (by Oregon Woodsmoke [ID]) May 24, 2023 10:02 AM
       charging for keys (by RB [TN]) May 24, 2023 10:31 AM
       charging for keys (by plenty [MO]) May 24, 2023 10:47 AM
       charging for keys (by Johnny B. [MA]) May 24, 2023 11:07 AM
       charging for keys (by S i d [MO]) May 24, 2023 11:08 AM
       charging for keys (by Busy [WI]) May 24, 2023 11:23 AM
       charging for keys (by don [PA]) May 24, 2023 11:55 AM
       charging for keys (by jonny [NY]) May 24, 2023 1:44 PM
       charging for keys (by Barb [MO]) May 24, 2023 2:03 PM
       charging for keys (by 6x6 [TN]) May 24, 2023 3:00 PM
       charging for keys (by Bonanza [NC]) May 24, 2023 3:04 PM
       charging for keys (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) May 24, 2023 8:11 PM
       charging for keys (by MC [PA]) May 24, 2023 9:34 PM
       charging for keys (by zero [IN]) May 25, 2023 4:16 AM
       charging for keys (by Busy [WI]) May 25, 2023 10:30 AM
       charging for keys (by Mike45 [NV]) May 26, 2023 3:49 PM
       charging for keys (by zero [IN]) May 27, 2023 7:09 AM

charging for keys (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: May 24, 2023 9:38 AM

If I am not mistaken, it is general practice to change the locks when a tenant moves out. I understand why that is and I do the same. What I don't understand is why do you charge a tenant for not returning the keys and/or for damaging the locks if you are going to change the locks anyway?

I think that I may know one reason why to charge for damaging the locks. I put a brand new set of locks on my rental and the tenants dog, of which I really loved, damaged the door knobs by scratching and even biting them. Perhaps he needed some iron in his diet. Even though I will be replacing the lockset on the entry doors anyway, I am charging for the lockset because I could have used them on another property had they not been damaged by my furry friend. Poor doggie.

charging for keys (by LisaFL [FL]) Posted on: May 24, 2023 9:44 AM

I charge for unreturned keys. They have value, they were issued and if they’re nit returned they are charged for them. What my future plans for the home are don’t matter. --24.236.xx.xx

charging for keys (by Steve [MA]) Posted on: May 24, 2023 9:47 AM

Some LLs like myself use a master key system which doesn't require us to change the actual knob. Instead, we just swap out the key cylinders.

In MA at move in a LL can charge a first month's rent, a last month's rent equal to the FMR, a SD equal to or less than the FMR as well as a reasonable key / lock fee. In the past I charged a $50.00 then a $75.00 & now a $100.00 key / lock fee. I'd rather get as much money as possible while the tenant & I are still in the "honeymoon" phase of our relationship rather than waiting until they are leaving.

charging for keys (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: May 24, 2023 9:52 AM

Around here 200 is the key fee, Goes on the first page of lease agreement - each key.

charging for keys (by Oregon Woodsmoke [ID]) Posted on: May 24, 2023 10:02 AM

I use a master key system, and I move the locks from house to house. I don't buy brand new every time I change tenants.

The locks are a bit on the expensive side, so yes, I want them back in good condition because I am going to reuse them.

charging for keys (by RB [TN]) Posted on: May 24, 2023 10:31 AM

Another Dog house.

charging for keys (by plenty [MO]) Posted on: May 24, 2023 10:47 AM

I'm going to challenge you on this. If you are using them on another house then they have life afterward and exiting tenant should not be charged. I've started putting dummy on handset and only rekey able deadbolt on top. Solves alot of issues. Since we have spoken about your exiting resident and their exit I would only charge them half the cost since they only damaged the bottom handset. But you may preceded as billed if you wish.

charging for keys (by Johnny B. [MA]) Posted on: May 24, 2023 11:07 AM

I don’t care if keys are returned or not. I rekey the locks without having to replace the door knob itself. If a tenant ruined the door knob I would charge them to replace it though.

charging for keys (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: May 24, 2023 11:08 AM

I use Landlord locks with the iCore series that can be quickly changed out. In addition to the "master" key that fits all my locks, I also have a "control" key that allows me to pull the core and insert a new core in about 10 seconds. Voila...done! So rekeying for me is a breeze, and one would think that means I should charge for non-returned key. I just have one extra set of cores, and each time I swap out an old core with the spare core, the old core become the new spare to go on the next vacancy.


The keys we use are commercial grade and cannot be duplicated by anyone except a professional locksmith. So if I have 3 "tenant" keys to a property (2 for the tenants, 1 for me as a backup) and the tenant fails to return 1 or 2 keys, then I have to take my backup key to the locksmith and have them create 1 or 2 new keys so I once again have 3 "tenant" keys. This takes about 45 minutes of my time, which I value highly, and there's also the actual cost of $5 per key. So I charge $45 for 1 key or $50 for 2 keys. My trip charge is $40 of that total + $5 per key. I didn't go into business to work for free, and that 45 minutes is time I don't get to spend doing something else I'd rather do, like going kayaking with my kids or enjoying a beer down at the local brewery with some friends.

Now... in your situation when you're moving locksets around. Each lockset is analogous to my lock cores. They have to be changed, but you should be using that same lockset somewhere else. So if not all keys are returned, you still have to drive somewhere (maybe Wally World?) and get them to create one or more keys so you have enough spares to give out to tenants and keep a backup for yourself. If you value your time, you will charge for that. The tenant had the key; they failed to return it. Bill 'em.

At the end of the day, I'm a pretty nice guy when it comes to this situation. If the tenant had to call a locksmith out to create another key, there's a bare minimum $60 trip charge, plus $5 per key. Again, I only charge $45-$50, so I'm saving THEM money for solving their problem.

You're welcome, Mr./Mrs. Tenant.

charging for keys (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: May 24, 2023 11:23 AM

I keep a spare set of deadbolts that I put on a vacant house while I run the existing set to the hardware store. The hardware store keeps a card on file with the combinations used at my properties. Once the deadbolts are rekeyed, I put them back on the property.

A tenant was having trouble with an ex, and he damaged the lock trying to get in. Tenant texted that she’d pay all costs of replacing lock, and rekeying when she told me about the damage. And she did.

With only four units, and nerve damage in my hands, I’ve chosen to use the hardware store for changing my locks, but, if I were a bigger operation, then Landlord locks would be a good choice.

charging for keys (by don [PA]) Posted on: May 24, 2023 11:55 AM

On a related note, I always give out duplicate keys to the tenants and hold the original ones that came in the package for myself. That way, if and when I have to make more dups, I am making them from an original, unworn key.

charging for keys (by jonny [NY]) Posted on: May 24, 2023 1:44 PM

I charge for any non-returned key as well as any damaged locks or handles (or if they changed them).

The reason is because it's MY TIME and MONEY to get another set of keys and/or put in different locks.

I don't use landlord locks (or that type) but I do use Kwikset locks that I can rekey. Yeah, it only costs maybe $3 for a new key BUT again, it's MY TIME and now I have to go make more keys.

Yes, I will re-key the lock anyway but having only one or two keys vs the 3 or 4 that I should have now makes me have to do it again.

I charge $25 PER KEY. They are advised of this at lease signing and REMINEDED at move-out. Some provide the keys back and others just don't (or will only return one and "oops, I forgot to drop the other one off")... whatever. I don't care. I charge.

charging for keys (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: May 24, 2023 2:03 PM

I get the iCore series from LLLocks. When I need additional keys, I call or email them and they punch them and send them to me.

I charge $25 for any key not returned.

charging for keys (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: May 24, 2023 3:00 PM

RB, that is a very good point. It took me a minute to get what you were saying.

If you were going to reuse those locks on another animal friendly property, would you charge the tenant for the damaged lockset?

charging for keys (by Bonanza [NC]) Posted on: May 24, 2023 3:04 PM

I usually give 3 keys at lease signing. If they don't give 3 back, there is a lost key charge of $20 which is more than fair in my opinion.

I use LL locks icores and move cores around, if they don't return all the keys I have less available for the next person.

Homes get a single throw deadbolt and a passage knob on all exterior doors. Practically impossible for them to lock themselves out.


charging for keys (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Posted on: May 24, 2023 8:11 PM

If using a commercial grade one or light commercial grade two dead bolt then take dead bolt out then a have locksmith rekey the lock for a reasonable price. Commercial dead bolts can be mastered which is best option for rentals. On the lower lock install a passage so a key must be used to lock door. Not rekeying lock can lead to serious problems as copies of keys can be made so the risk is not worth it. Even if use a dead bolt from another property reduces the risk. If took twenty to thirty dollars then amortized that into rent that would not be much. Unlike a investment in the bank rental properties have expenses.

charging for keys (by MC [PA]) Posted on: May 24, 2023 9:34 PM

I charge if keys not returned. Yes. We know copies are floating around. Part of the charge is due to releasing possession. If they have keys, they can get in. We change locks anyway.

charging for keys (by zero [IN]) Posted on: May 25, 2023 4:16 AM

I change locks every time I change tenants.

I master key everything myself (kwikset). If I do not get the keys back I charge $50/door. Maybe I should charge more.

Really like the idea of deadbolt only on the places with two holes in the door. As it is now I carry a spare lockset and deadbolt in my truck. Keyed alike and master keyed.

Just in case.

charging for keys (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: May 25, 2023 10:30 AM

Zero, I stopped all calls of being locked out, or of broken windows when I switched to using a hall/ closet knob and a deadbolt. As Bonanza said, practically impossible for them to lock themselves out. A few tenants asked about it, looked uncomfortable, so I offered to add a second deadbolt ( which would need a third hole, of course,) but none have taken me up on that.

I suspect some tenants like having the thumb-turn lock so couch-surfing friends can let themselves out after tenant has gone to work. But, having only deadbolts, tenants have to get the couch-surfers out before tenant leaves for the day. Another plus!

charging for keys (by Mike45 [NV]) Posted on: May 26, 2023 3:49 PM

I always change the locks (re-key them) upon move-out. So I do not want the old tenant's keys except for the symbolic surrender of the premises. I do not charge for un-returned keys, because they are worthless to me and to the ex-tenant.

Damaged locks are another story.


charging for keys (by zero [IN]) Posted on: May 27, 2023 7:09 AM


When I read your post I was all but convinced that I was going to change my system.

Then I get a text from a tenant about the deadbolt not working. Their key works on the lockset but not the deadbolt.

Easy fix as usually it is just in need of some spray.

I show up the next day and spray both locks. Grab my master key and viola! Then I go about my day.

Talk to the tenant a day later and no joy with the deadbolt. I go back and try the copy of the tenant's key I keep in my truck. No joy, but the master key works.

Took the lock apart and found that one of the master pins had slipped thru. It happens, although very rarely.

Got it all back together and life is good again. Tenant used just the lockset and a kick bar that I provided at night.

Still making plans to use a dummy knob and deadbolt, but the timing was odd to say the least. Only good thing is I got to play with the dog for a bit. (This is one of my kids' places)

Subject: RE: charging for keys
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