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  • FIRST POST
    • JohnnyZee
    • By JohnnyZee 4th Oct 17, 5:34 PM
    • 33Posts
    • 2Thanks
    JohnnyZee
    Landlord being an idiot
    • #1
    • 4th Oct 17, 5:34 PM
    Landlord being an idiot 4th Oct 17 at 5:34 PM
    My friends have recently moved into a new flat. However, one of them has lost their keys for the flat (total set: 3 keys). 2 out of 3 keys are protected, so they need the landlord's permission to get an extra set. However, the landlord is being paranoid and wants to change the locks at the tenant's expense. There are 3 locks (1 lock on communal door, 2 locks on flat door).

    Landlord wants to change 1 lock, and duplicate keys for the 2 other locks (he is asking for £148 in total - wow!! He will also add another £90 if he cannot fit the lock himself). He will then see later if he wants to change other locks. Is this even ethical? I know in the tenancy agreement, there was a clause that the tenant would pay "reasonable" costs associated with replacing keys and/or locks. But since when did tenants pay for changing locks completely? And not even normal locks, he wants to buy some fancy "EVA" brand. Do tenants have no rights/or say in this matter?

    I have a feeling landlord is trying to take advantage of the tenants as they don't know much about locks.

    Any advice on what should be done?
Page 2
    • Lizabeth21
    • By Lizabeth21 4th Oct 17, 7:04 PM
    • 60 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    Lizabeth21
    Maybe a question should be is the tenant responsible enough to look after important property keys? - you'll be in this same position again
    • JohnnyZee
    • By JohnnyZee 4th Oct 17, 7:18 PM
    • 33 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    JohnnyZee
    Thanks guys.

    What if the tenant and the LL cannot agree on the cost? What happens? Does it go to tribunal?
    Last edited by JohnnyZee; 04-10-2017 at 7:23 PM. Reason: typo
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 4th Oct 17, 7:24 PM
    • 60,998 Posts
    • 356,290 Thanks
    PasturesNew
    If you'd moved in and the landlord had said "Sorry there are only 3 sets of keys, but the last tenant said they'd lost their set" .... would you sleep at night?
    • G_M
    • By G_M 4th Oct 17, 8:46 PM
    • 42,330 Posts
    • 49,177 Thanks
    G_M
    You seem to have accepted now that the tenant is liable for the cost resulting from his loss of the keys. Good.

    So - what is a 'reasonable' replacement cost and how does the tenant know that the LL is charging a reasonable amount?


    This was answered in post 2 above! Identify the existing lock, go to a locksmith, and get a quote for a similar replacement! (along with sufficient spare keys for everyone in the building, the landlord, and whoever else had a set (eg agent? cleaner? etc)
    Last edited by G_M; 04-10-2017 at 8:59 PM.
    • HampshireH
    • By HampshireH 4th Oct 17, 9:00 PM
    • 271 Posts
    • 274 Thanks
    HampshireH
    You mention that the LL won't provide receipts. Have they said as much?

    If your friend doesn't believe the LL costs are accurate have the offered to get a locksmith to replace the locks with an identical specification. The LL probably wouldn't mind as they would get a copy of the invoice proving the exact spec has been duplicated.

    Your friend however probably wont be too impressed as it may cost more.
    • saajan_12
    • By saajan_12 5th Oct 17, 9:12 AM
    • 1,010 Posts
    • 678 Thanks
    saajan_12
    What if the tenant and the LL cannot agree on the cost? What happens? Does it go to tribunal?
    Originally posted by JohnnyZee
    I don't see why they can't agree, it should be the cost of buying and fitting a lock similar to the existing one.

    However if they can't, the LL may change the locks at his cost now or at the end of the tenancy. He can either
    1. sue the tenant for breaching the agreement clause that states tenants pay for reasonable costs of lock and key replacement; the court would decide whether its reasonable and may award the LL court costs too
    2. deduct the cost from your deposit as something you should have paid for. If you dispute it with the deposit scheme, they can arbitrate whether the cost is reasonable.
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 5th Oct 17, 10:22 AM
    • 24,085 Posts
    • 66,698 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    I don't see why they can't agree, it should be the cost of buying and fitting a lock similar to the existing one.

    However if they can't, the LL may change the locks at his cost now or at the end of the tenancy. He can either
    1. sue the tenant for breaching the agreement clause that states tenants pay for reasonable costs of lock and key replacement; the court would decide whether its reasonable and may award the LL court costs too
    2. deduct the cost from your deposit as something you should have paid for. If you dispute it with the deposit scheme, they can arbitrate whether the cost is reasonable.
    Originally posted by saajan_12
    And/or issue a Section 21 to terminate the tenancy because 'the tenant is being an idiot'.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • pimento
    • By pimento 5th Oct 17, 10:28 AM
    • 5,248 Posts
    • 6,792 Thanks
    pimento

    I understand that it is a bit irresponsible to lose a set of keys but you cannot let the tenant bear the full cost.
    Originally posted by JohnnyZee
    Why not? He lost them.
    "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." -- Red Adair
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 5th Oct 17, 10:41 AM
    • 1,315 Posts
    • 1,069 Thanks
    Comms69
    Thanks guys.

    What if the tenant and the LL cannot agree on the cost? What happens? Does it go to tribunal?
    Originally posted by JohnnyZee


    No, it gets deducted from the deposit!


    Tribunal? Give me strength
    • wantonnoodle
    • By wantonnoodle 5th Oct 17, 11:53 AM
    • 218 Posts
    • 149 Thanks
    wantonnoodle
    This doesn't seem to make sense to me - in the 5 different rentals I've had, none have them have had an open ended charge for replacing lost keys/changing locks as the OP has here. 4 of them had a flat charge of £25 and the last tenancy had a flat rate of £50 plus a call out fee if out of hours. This was charged regardless of if it was just a replacement key, or if it was a whole new lock. These tenancies were in Leeds and Greater Manchester, so I guess there could be a north/south divide on how its done.

    I never lost any keys however so never needed to test it out, but given that locks outlast tenancies, I think its a fairer way of apportioning cost.
    • JohnnyZee
    • By JohnnyZee 5th Oct 17, 11:54 AM
    • 33 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    JohnnyZee
    Ok, I have now gotten some more information. The lock the tenant wants to change is "ERA" brand, not the more expensive "EVVA". That identical lock can be obtained for about £40 from various hardware shops. Also, to duplicate the 2 other keys would cost £10 each. So total cost should be about £60ish.

    Now tell me, is the landlord being fair by asking for £150?? Who decides what is the right price? And I understand the landlord is free to put whatever lock he wants, but can he just pass on the cost to the tenant without their say? Also, is it fair to ask to landlord to furnish receipts?
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 5th Oct 17, 12:02 PM
    • 1,315 Posts
    • 1,069 Thanks
    Comms69
    Ok, I have now gotten some more information. The lock the tenant wants to change is "ERA" brand, not the more expensive "EVVA". That identical lock can be obtained for about £40 from various hardware shops. Also, to duplicate the 2 other keys would cost £10 each. So total cost should be about £60ish.

    Now tell me, is the landlord being fair by asking for £150?? Who decides what is the right price? And I understand the landlord is free to put whatever lock he wants, but can he just pass on the cost to the tenant without their say? Also, is it fair to ask to landlord to furnish receipts?
    Originally posted by JohnnyZee


    If the tenant can do it for cheaper, then just do it and give the LL the new key?
    • JohnnyZee
    • By JohnnyZee 5th Oct 17, 12:08 PM
    • 33 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    JohnnyZee
    If the tenant can do it for cheaper, then just do it and give the LL the new key?
    Originally posted by Comms69
    Thanks. Yes, that's the avenue we are exploring. I have read some of the messages from the LL. He is quite condescending and wants to take the tenants for a ride. LL claims he has already ordered the new lock/keys. He did not consult on the costs involved. Just mentioned he will get it done next week and the tenants should keep the £150 cash ready.
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 5th Oct 17, 12:11 PM
    • 1,315 Posts
    • 1,069 Thanks
    Comms69
    Thanks. Yes, that's the avenue we are exploring. I have read some of the messages from the LL. He is quite condescending and wants to take the tenants for a ride. LL claims he has already ordered the new lock/keys. He did not consult on the costs involved. Just mentioned he will get it done next week and the tenants should keep the £150 cash ready.
    Originally posted by JohnnyZee


    What do you mean exploring? Just go and do it. This could've been done and dusted with-in a few hours.


    I can understand why he's getting like that if there's no offer being made. He's having to come and sort out the mess afterall.
    • JohnnyZee
    • By JohnnyZee 5th Oct 17, 12:23 PM
    • 33 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    JohnnyZee
    What do you mean exploring? Just go and do it. This could've been done and dusted with-in a few hours.


    I can understand why he's getting like that if there's no offer being made. He's having to come and sort out the mess afterall.
    Originally posted by Comms69
    Nah, there is a clause in the tenancy agreement stating that tenants cannot change and/or add any new locks to any doors without the LL's consent. The tenants notified the LL about loss of keys. And he came back saying he has ordered new lock and wants £150 etc.

    Also, 1 out of the 2 keys to duplicate is protected and we need the LL to provide a "master code" to get a copy.

    It is a bit of a mess unfortunately.
    • rtho782
    • By rtho782 5th Oct 17, 12:53 PM
    • 1,037 Posts
    • 748 Thanks
    rtho782
    Ok, so you are within your rights to change the locks, but at the end of the tenancy you need to put the old locks back on and hand back all the keys.

    He can then charge you to replace all the locks as you can't hand all the keys back.

    So all you're doing is delaying the cost.
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    • Quizzical Squirrel
    • By Quizzical Squirrel 5th Oct 17, 1:18 PM
    • 171 Posts
    • 4,192 Thanks
    Quizzical Squirrel
    I've had an experience where a tenant's daughter 'lost' their protected key 'on a school trip to London'.

    The key was miraculously found by a friend of the tenants in the two week gap before the next tenants moved in. Real needle in a haystack stuff.

    That friend was probably just testing the lock to identify the key.
    And just testing the house lights at night.
    And making sure the outside tap water was good enough for car washing.

    So yes, if I were still a landlord, I'd charge tenants for changing locks in these circumstances if regulations allowed.

    You don't know who's really got that key and even if you routinely change locks between tenancies, that won't safeguard the current tenancy.
    • missile
    • By missile 5th Oct 17, 1:25 PM
    • 9,025 Posts
    • 4,398 Thanks
    missile
    Thanks guys.
    'Protected' keys are those you cannot copy without a master code (it is on some card).

    The communal door serves only 2 flats. My friends live in a converted house. I understand that it is a bit irresponsible to lose a set of keys but you cannot let the tenant bear the full cost. I am not sure what brand the current locks are, but wouldn't it be fair for the tenants to pay only part of the cost? The lock is going to outlast the tenancy agreement. So why should the tenant pay for the full price of a new lock (not even some deteriorated one)!
    Originally posted by JohnnyZee
    Tennant lost the keys. Why should LL subsidise his carelessness?

    If I were a LL and my tenant lost keys shortly after moving in, then called me an idiot for wanting to replace the locks, I would terminate his contract at the earliest opportunity.
    Last edited by missile; 05-10-2017 at 1:31 PM.
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    • parkrunner
    • By parkrunner 5th Oct 17, 1:31 PM
    • 812 Posts
    • 1,191 Thanks
    parkrunner
    Ok, I have now gotten some more information. The lock the tenant wants to change is "ERA" brand, not the more expensive "EVVA". That identical lock can be obtained for about £40 from various hardware shops. Also, to duplicate the 2 other keys would cost £10 each. So total cost should be about £60ish.

    Now tell me, is the landlord being fair by asking for £150??

    Who decides what is the right price? And I understand the landlord is free to put whatever lock he wants, but can he just pass on the cost to the tenant without their say? Also, is it fair to ask to landlord to furnish receipts?
    Originally posted by JohnnyZee
    Yes. A couple of hours labour time for arranging and fixing plus the parts (which you have costed) seems perfectly reasonable.
    • flybynight
    • By flybynight 5th Oct 17, 1:33 PM
    • 256 Posts
    • 229 Thanks
    flybynight
    if the ERA has a protected cylinder it isn't gonna be that cheap to replace, as with all things, there is a range of quality, and if its the top end, it wont be a £15 job. also, if its a limited key, they are more to cut, if each flat is tenanted that is 3 for each set of tenants, 2 for the 2 landlords and 2 for the 2 agents, then add the other 2 locks and the necessary extra keys, and it can add up. so although he may be trying to pull a fast one in terms of over egging the costs, that's not necessarily the case.
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