Landlord Wants Copy Of Key

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I say no way! The last thing I need is someone coming into my efficency when I am not home. I work way too many hours away from home and don't trust anyone. My last landlord lost their house to foreclosure and didn't tell me and collected my rent. Any advice?

When I first got the place the landlord said that 3 other couples have previously rented the place. He told me that he only had 1 key and said that he needed to make me a copy for my wife. I told him that it was not a problem that I could do it myself since I have the only key and it will only be a couple dollars to make it. He said ok. The next day, he came to me and gave me a copy of the key to my door. Meaning that he did in fact have the second key and went and made a copy for himself. I realized that he lied to me and just wanted a key for himself. I immediately went to the store and purchased new locks for my door. My wife and I are young, me 24 and my wife 21. We look even younger, about 16/15. This is our second month and we paid our rent 2 days early. We are very responsible people and like our privacy. I don't like the idea of my wife being home all day and knowing that my landlord has a key to our home.

Please don't judge, we can't afford an apartment yet or a home to call our own. The rent isn't cheap, but it's less than moving fees and deposits for an apartment. I do know that apartments do have keys to get in for maintenance but efficiencies don't always have the best landlords. They think that just because they own the place that they can come in whenever they want to and look around your home.

I am really not sure as to what I should do. I signed a contract for 1 year. The landlord will be installing a new ac unit and wants the house resident free for the day and that he will get in with his copy of the key. My wife does not have a car and no other place to be during the day (we live in the country) and I must work. I told that my wife will be there and that I have changed the locks. He now wants keys to the new locks.

Renting is such a mission. I give him good money each month and expect to be left alone.
  • Profile picture of the author TimPhelan
    They own the home and I'm pretty sure where ever you live the law will say they need to have a copy of the key. I doubt they can just come in at any time though. Most states have a law where they need to give you 24 hour notice to enter. Them having control over stuff like this is part of being a renter and rightfully so because they are the owners.
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    • Profile picture of the author jimbo13
      Exactly what Tim said.

      It is not your house although it is your home. So naturally he would have a key.

      If I rented a house out and used a Letting Agency then the Letting Agency would also have a set of keys.

      This doesn't mean people will barge in frequently or with no notice. Ordinarily you might never see a Letting Agent until near the end of the agreement who will do a stock check etc (if rented furnished)

      Your Landlord has told you what he wants to do and has given you plenty of notice for it.

      On the flip side, if there was something major that you spot during tenancy you would be able to phone the landlord or letting agency usually on a mobile and they will deal with it.

      Don't worry about it. If you want your wife to be in then ask that she stay there. That is not unreasonable.

      Dan

      PS: I am re -reading your post. What is an efficiency? Is it a room in a flat? (Apartment)
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    To my knowledge as a long term renter, the landlord does need a key BUT they must give you 24 hours notice if they need to visit and you can change the time if it is not convenient (e.g.inspections, etc.)
    They CAN'T tell you to vacate the place for the day as they have a workman coming in. That is breach of your privacy. The workman might steal stuff...you just don't know.
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  • Profile picture of the author maark
    Check your lease contract, we have a statement that the landlord has to announce his visit more than 1 week before and we both must confirm the date. I see no issue in him having the key since it is his flat, but definately pre notice when he wants to come into our flat.
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  • Profile picture of the author momofangelgirl
    I am a landlord and it is the law that the landlord retain a key to the tenant home. The landlord does not have the right to enter the home unless there is an emergency (the house is on fire for example), or unless he arranges an annual inspection with you.
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    WOW, I dissent again! As far as I am concerned, YOU own the home for the period paid for. You are NOT paying for four walls a ceiling. You can get THAT with a box or something. You are paying for privacy and security.

    That said, I ran into this exact problem one time. I think I just ignored it, and it died.

    Anyway, what people are saying about the law MIGHT be "valid" but it is really wrong. A couple times I suspected people of coming in, ********WITHOUT******** notice or reason. One day, I came home, opened the door, and saw the manager coming down the stairs. It was a town home. That was the first and only time I tried to casually mention that I had a gun! I was TRYING to get the idea through her thick skull that I wasn't paying for a place sh could call her own.

    To add insult to injury, I actually lied to the Government for her. She was in the country illegally and on "disability". What a laugh! That is the LAST time I do THAT.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Jessie Stevens
    Just so you all can understand, an efficiency is an illegal set up of a mini studio in someone's home. Meaning that they did not pull permits with the county and that the place was never inspected before allowing renters to move in. Basically, if the town found out about us living here, the owner would get a notice on his door stating that he has 120 days to remove tenants and remove any work that was done to the house or risk having his home taken from him and condemned. Because the owner purchased a single family home, he must keep it that way. The insurance company can also cancel his policy.
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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by Jessie Stevens View Post

      Just so you all can understand, an efficiency is an illegal set up of a mini studio in someone's home. Meaning that they did not pull permits with the county and that the place was never inspected before allowing renters to move in. Basically, if the town found out about us living here, the owner would get a notice on his door stating that he has 120 days to remove tenants and remove any work that was done to the house or risk having his home taken from him and condemned. Because the owner purchased a single family home, he must keep it that way. The insurance company can also cancel his policy.
      OK, that is a little different. It sounds like the key wouldn't afford much privacy ANYWAY because, if worse comes to worse, they can have a locksmith come in, etc...

      If it were done illegally, YIKES! It is bad enough when a bad LICENSED contractor does such work.

      Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      When the economy and real estate markets tanked there were many renters who found themselves out because the rental they were in was foreclosed.

      an efficiency is an illegal set up of a mini studio in someone's home
      Not necessarily - depends on the local zoning laws. Not sure what your point is in saying that. If the rental is not legal and you report it - you'll be looking for another place to live.

      Of course your landlord has a key - he OWNS the property.

      If you have a rental contract it's likely there's mention of the owner entering only in an emergency or for maintenance of the property.

      If you don't have a contract there's probably a reason you are renting an efficiency in a home and being confrontational with the owner is probably not a good idea.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
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    This is why you have renters insurance & document/photgraph every single thing you own in the apartment. Back in the late 90's I had an apartment between buying houses (few months) & bought renters insurance for my personal property inside the apartment, the insurance was dirt cheap & insured for more money than my personal items. I bought the renters insurance with my local auto insurance agent.

    Get renters insurance & a baseball bat.
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    • Profile picture of the author ThomM
      Originally Posted by yukon View Post

      This is why you have renters insurance & document/photgraph every single thing you own in the apartment. Back in the late 90's I had an apartment between buying houses (few months) & bought renters insurance for my personal property inside the apartment, the insurance was dirt cheap & insured for more money than my personal items. I bought the renters insurance with my local auto insurance agent.

      Get renters insurance & a baseball bat.
      To add a little to that, always take pictures of the place you are renting before you move your stuff in. Also make a list (with photos) of anything broken or out of place like a stain or cracks, etc. When you move take pictures again. I had a landlord refuse to give us a security deposit back because she said we left the place in a filthy condition. Even though we had cleaned it, we didn't have any pictures to prove it was cleaner when we left then when we moved in. When I contacted a lawyer about it the first question he asked was "Do you have before and after pictures?"
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      • Profile picture of the author seasoned
        Originally Posted by ThomM View Post

        To add a little to that, always take pictures of the place you are renting before you move your stuff in. Also make a list (with photos) of anything broken or out of place like a stain or cracks, etc. When you move take pictures again. I had a landlord refuse to give us a security deposit back because she said we left the place in a filthy condition. Even though we had cleaned it, we didn't have any pictures to prove it was cleaner when we left then when we moved in. When I contacted a lawyer about it the first question he asked was "Do you have before and after pictures?"
        I once went to a HOTEL! It was late at night, and I was exhausted! I think there was also a problem with the lights. I THOUGHT I saw an odd pattern on the chair, but thought nothing really of it. That morning, at work, the hotel called me and asked me if I had any knowledge of why the chair was colored so! Apparently the people there before me had kids, and they never thought to check. The kid held like 2 crayons and scribbled over the chair! I lucked out, but MAN!

        Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    Generally, if anything is not covered in the lease, then it defaults back to the State Statutes. So, unless the lease says otherwise, then the landlord probably has to give you 24 hours notice (most states have this time period) before he can come in. Tenants
    do have privacy and occupancy rights.

    It should be up to you if you stay while the contractor is there. Unless the lease says otherwise.

    The landlord should have keys. Suppose someone changes the locks and then pulls a midnight move out. The landlord should not have to go through the hassle of locksmithing. Or, if there is an emergency such as fire or gas leak or the tenant needs medical help. Landlords have rights as well.

    Many counties have landlord/tenant dispute resolution offices.

    For future reference, anytime the landlord puts something unusual in the lease, it's probably not a good sign about that landlord. At least in my experience. Example: One potential landlord spelled out in the lease that tenants had to pay for Carpet Cleaning through a specific company upon move out. (I think he just wanted clean carpets.) The problem is that the landlord should do the normal carpet cleaning between tenants, UNLESS it is non-normal wear and tear upon the part of the tenant.

    Dan
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      Most leases give the landlord the right to enter the premises to make repairs and conduct maintenance - usually requiring advance notice to the tenant. The owner gave notice.

      A tenant probably does not have the right to change the property - including changing locks - without permission from the property owner.

      This stuff is usually IN the lease you sign. The idea that you can change locks to keep the landlord out i snot going to fly with most owners.
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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by bizgrower View Post

      The landlord should have keys. Suppose someone changes the locks and then pulls a midnight move out. The landlord should not have to go through the hassle of locksmithing.
      They **********BETTER********* "go through the hassle"! Last I knew, the average building, and average apartment, in the US at least, had normal locks. ALL require you to "go through the hassle" to change the accepted key. ****ALL**** require you to change the accepted key to stop accepting the last key. If I pay a penny for a place, I do NOT want an older tenant to simply be able to enter the place.

      Steve
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        I agree, Steve, and in the past I've had landlords who changed the locks at my request - but the landlord also had a key.

        In this case, the OP (tenant) changed the locks in order to prevent landlord access. Not the same thing.
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    Steve,
    I meant when the tenant changes locks with out the landlord knowing and leaves the landlord locked out without keys. Under normal circumstances, I agree that the landlord should re-key or change locks between tenants.

    Dan
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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by bizgrower View Post

      Steve,
      I meant when the tenant changes locks with out the landlord knowing and leaves the landlord locked out without keys. Under normal circumstances, I agree that the landlord should re-key or change locks between tenants.

      Dan
      Well, I just wanted to make it clear.

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author badlimey
    Sorry, the advice here is solid, you landlord can enter upon reasonable notice and in the event of an emergency. This law applies in most states.
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  • Profile picture of the author LeeLee
    There is no lease agreement in an illegal rental. You can write/sign whatever you want but it has no standing under the law.

    I would at least get one of those door jam things they recommend when you travel so your wife will feel safer when she is in the home.
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