Do I really need to change the locks?

When preparing your home for rent, there are a handful of things a property owner “just has to do.” These items including making sure that everything is working, the carpets are cleaned, the paint is at least touched up, and the home is cleaned. The final, and most often forgotten, is to have the locks changed. Even if the owner is moving out, the tenants are moving out of town, or the last person was “a good person,” it’s best to protect yourself.

The best practice is to have a professional locksmith rekey the deadbolts throughout the home to the same key. This way, you have only one key to worry about, and there’s no doubt that the proper measures have been taken.

Many times, the owners of the property will not even have a copy of the key. Rather, the management company will have the only spare key. This shows to everyone that the best efforts to keep the tenant as safe as possible have been taken.

Our friends at Kimball, Tirey and St. John sum it up best: “An owner or manager of rental property is held to the same standard of care that would be required by a reasonable and prudent owner or manager in like circumstances. In other words, if one of your residents claims they were robbed or injured by someone who had a key to their apartment, they could claim you were responsible. They could prevail in court if the trier of fact believed that a reasonably prudent owner/manager would have changed the locks when the former resident vacated the rental unit.” – Ted Kimball

If you have any questions about what you can do to help protect your home, or best practices for successful management of your investment property, please feel free to contact Lee Arnold at [email protected]

Benchmark Property Management is a professional residential management company specializing in the management of single family homes and condos in North San Diego County and Temecula Valley.

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