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Can a tenant change the locks on a property?

Tenant

Can a tenant change the locks on a property?

The main way of securing a property is to use good, strong locks on any entrances to the house or flat – including windows where this is possible. Can a tenant change the locks on a property without the prior permission of the landlord, however? And how about vice versa – does the landlord have the right to change the locks?

Can the tenant change the locks?

The answer depends on the wording of the tenancy agreement. Many landlords now forbid tenants from tampering with a property’s locks by means of a clause stating that permission must be sought. If this clause is not contained in the tenancy agreement, then matters are more complex.

While a tenant is living in a property, they do have the right to change the locks, unless this has been forbidden by the tenancy agreement. Neither do they have to notify the landlord or provide a new key.

If the tenancy agreement does mention that changing locks is not allowed, then the tenant would be breaching the agreement by doing so. There may not be much a landlord can do once the change has taken place, but they could, for example, deduct the cost of replacement locks from the deposit.

Can the landlord change the locks?

A landlord can change the locks, but they must have the tenants’ permission to enter. The only exception is in an emergency, such as when the property’s security has been compromised after a break-in. In this case, they are obliged to provide the tenants with new keys immediately.

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