Can I Change the Locks In My Apartment Without My Landlords Permission?

The issue of changing locks on a rented apartment without the landlord’s permission can be a tricky one and the legality of doing so varies from State to State. In Oregon, the law does not mandate landlords to change locks before new tenants move in. Still, most landlords choose to rekey the locks for security purposes and other reasons. While tenants can request lock changes for legitimate reasons, altering the locks without the landlord’s consent is a different matter entirely, and it begs the question – is it legal? And if not, what are the consequences? In this blog we will address some of the pitfalls associated with changing the locks in your apartment without the landlords permission.

In Most Cases, Tenants Are Not Allowed To Change Their Own Locks

Typically, tenants are not authorized to make alterations to their rented properties without the landlord’s approval. Including changing the locks on their apartment door. Landlords have a legal obligation to ensure that their rental properties are secure and safe for all tenants. This involves performing regular maintenance checks on water heaters, as well as testing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Landlords must also hold a spare key in case of emergencies or urgent situations where tenants may not be available. For example, if a pipe bursts in a tenant’s apartment, and they are not present, the landlord or maintenance personnel must be able to access the unit to prevent any potential damage to the tenant’s property or other surrounding units. If there was a fire within the apartment, it would be important for the local fire department to have a way to access the apartment as well. Most rental agreements stipulate that tenants cannot change locks without obtaining the landlord’s consent, as it is considered a significant alteration. However, tenants can confirm what their lease says regarding lock replacements.

What Exceptions Exist For Tenants To Change Locks Without The Landlords Permission?

Are there any exceptions where tenants can change apartment locks without the landlord’s permission? Yes, there are several scenarios where tenants can replace locks and still be within their legal rights. For instance, if the landlord fails to rekey the locks after a previous tenant moves out, it is the tenant’s right to request that the locks be changed. In such a case and in most states, the landlord must comply, or the tenant can change the locks themselves and provide the landlord with a spare key. Another scenario is if the tenant is concerned about security or safety risks, such as a break-in, where the landlord must take appropriate action to resolve the issue. If the landlord or an employee enters the tenant’s property without sufficient notice, the tenant has the right to request a lock change.This may seem counterintuitive but it is critical that after the lock has been changed that you give the landlord a copy of the new key in case of an emergency.

Consider This If You Decide to Change The Locks Without Your Landlords Permission

What happens if you change the locks without the landlord’s permission? First, we advise that you do not do it yourself, but instead hire a professional locksmith like Locksmith Plus Inc. A professional locksmith has the tools and expertise to change the locks safely without causing any damage to the property. If you damage any part of the door, frame, or locking mechanism while changing the locks, you could be liable for paying for the damages. Changing the locks yourself would be cheaper, but we do not recommend it for the above reasons and it’s always better to hire a professional.

Additional Security Considerations and Options To Keep Unwanted Intruders Out Of Your Apartment

If you’re concerned with your landlord entering your property while you’re in your apartment you could install a privacy latch for additional security. Of course this device will only keep the landlord out when you’re home, it does provide a little extra peace of mind. Another option would be to install a Ring security system or other device where you can monitor your property remotely while you’re away. That way, if your landlord or anyone else attempts to enter your property you can at least document what has happened.

If you have any other questions about Apartment security feel free to reach out to Locksmith Plus Inc. We provide rekey, high-security upgrades, and 24/7 emergency lockout services. Visit our website at LocksmithPlusInc.com to learn more.

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