Locks are a property’s first line of defense. They are a landlords, or property managers, way of assigning and revoking access. If someone moves out, they should not be able to get back into the property and when a new tenant arrives, they should have complete access to their new home. That requires having old keys returned, rekeying locks, and having new keys made.
With so many things to consider, how do you go about choosing the right lock?
- Frequency of Use
A big concern with the frequency of a lock’s use is the amount of wear that the metal gets. As a result, the more the lock is used, the faster it wears out and needs servicing. On a property with many renters, you may want to consider getting a commercial-grade mortise lock. These devices stand up to more turning of knob and keys, and the components are easy to replace and repair.
There is a need to rekey the locks with every turnover in renters. Certain locks, are easy to rekey. These locks are made for deadbolts, handles, and knobs. The ease of rekeying allows you to change the key that works with these locks quickly and without calling a locksmith. The problem with such items is that there is often a compromise in the security of the lock. The U-Change Lock has a bypass that allows anyone to reset the lock to any key blank they can fit in the keyway. With security products, convenience often comes at the expense of safety.
- Key Control
A big issue with renting is that key control goes out the window. When you cannot control the key, you may need a lock change instead of simply rekeying. Once you give someone a key, what they do with it is no longer in your control. Even a key with an impressioned “DO NOT DUPLICATE” message does little to protect the key from being copied at the local hardware store. Many key duplicators are self-service machines, meaning that no one will see the message. And even if they did, many service techs at big box stores don’t care.
The answer to this dilemma is a lock with a patented key. These locks cannot have a key made without the registered lock owner approaching a locksmith or another register key distributor of the company.
Having a lock that provides the property some security is essential. The base level of security is a lock on the front door. From there you can add locks as needed. Invest in locks that are harder to overwhelm. You want something with some level of anti-drill protection and with bump-key resistance. You may install an anti-drill plate to stand up to drills. For protection against forced entry from kicks and battering rams, focus more on the door and doorjamb than on the lock.
All of these companies have different lock models with different capabilities. Each lock is going to have different strengths and weaknesses. The top 5 brands that landlords prefer are:
- RR Brink
Now that you know what to look for in a lock, all you need to decide is what matters most to you. Weigh the risks. If the risks are high, implement more security measures.
Ideas by Ralph Goodman