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HenryTaylor
25-08-2009, 12:07 PM
Hi, have just had new student tenants move into a 6 bed house.

All 6 bedrooms have old victorian 1-lever locks installed, but only 2 bedrooms have keys. As far as I know all 6 locks are in working order. The tenants asked me if I could install new locks for the 4 bedrooms without keys. I said I could put them in touch with a locksmith who would install new british standard 5 lever locks at £75 each.

Have just had a phone call from one of them saying that under tenant law/rights, the landlord must supply keys to each working lock in the property and if there are deficient keys, the landlord must foot the bill for installation of all locks on student bedrooms. The tenant said he has this advice from a registered and certified locksmith and will get the university housing union involved if we don't fit new locks. They say that none of their belongings are covered by insurance companies without locks on their doors.

There is no mention in our contract of which party is responsible. What does common law say?

Many thanks,
Henry.

Telometer
25-08-2009, 12:18 PM
Joint AST for the whole house, or separate ASTs for each room?

It sounds as though you may have an HMO - which requires you to have locks on all doors which are NOT key operated (to enable easy egress in the event of fire during the night). Are you au fait with HMO legislation?

It is not your problem if they have rented somewhere they are unable to insure. (Suggest they get a joint insurance policy for the whole house, be much cheaper than individual policies.)

The other thing worth doing is to telephone the "university housing union" to find out what they are really saying.

mind the gap
25-08-2009, 12:22 PM
To complicate the issue ... asTelometer says, locks on bedroom doors on HMOs must be of a certain sort (ie openable without a key from inside the room), however, do these 6 students realise that if they insist on a lock on each of their doors, they are then required to buy a TV licence EACH - although it is a joint tenancy, the presence of locks renders it less like one household, so the licensing authority won't accept one licence for the whole house? In other words, any tenant who has any appliance in their rooms which can receive live TV signals, must buy their own licence. This news is usually sufficient to make them pipe down.

HenryTaylor
25-08-2009, 15:35 PM
Joint AST.

Not particularly familiar with HMO legislation as I am relatively new to the landlord business. As far as I understood, HMO 'households' are defined by types of groups, so a family of four would be classified as one household, a couple living with a friend would be 3 households, and in my case there are 6 households?

So under HMO legislation, the 4 bedroom doors with non-working locks would be classified as being 'not key operated' seeing as effectively there are no locks due to the lack of keys? And if this is the case then I would need to pay for the fitting of locks that can be used by key from the outside, but also be openable without a key from the inside?

As for the TV licence - there is only one communal TV, (they discovered about separate licences in their last property the harsh way and have since wised up) so the joint tenancy/single licence stands.

theartfullodger
25-08-2009, 15:40 PM
Oddly enough I was asked for a new 09/10 student letting if I would have locks fitted (4 beds only, 2 floors, Surrey). Apparently "to satisfy the insurers" (plausible...). Yes, they are all openable from inside the rooms without a key... Being a kind soul I acquiesced..

Ho hum, more money out!

Cheers!

Lodger

Telometer
25-08-2009, 15:53 PM
In the old days, you would have had a straightfoward house share. They took the house together, and there you were.

Nowadays you have an HMO. Whether you need to license it, and what you need to do with regards to upgrading it, only your own local authority can tell you.

As for your "registered and certified locksmith" well I guess there is no such thing (though he may well be a member of a trade body) and he will be looking to create work for himself.

mind the gap
25-08-2009, 15:59 PM
Joint AST.

Not particularly familiar with HMO legislation as I am relatively new to the landlord business. As far as I understood, HMO 'households' are defined by types of groups, so a family of four would be classified as one household, a couple living with a friend would be 3 households, and in my case there are 6 households?Correct.




So under HMO legislation, the 4 bedroom doors with non-working locks would be classified as being 'not key operated' seeing as effectively there are no locks due to the lack of keys? And if this is the case then I would need to pay for the fitting of locks that can be used by key from the outside, but also be openable without a key from the inside?Correct, assuming they are right about your having to provide locks in the first place. They are easy enough to fit yourself, actually. You don't have to get a locksmith in.




As for the TV licence - there is only one communal TV, (they discovered about separate licences in their last property the harsh way and have since wised up) so the joint tenancy/single licence stands. That's fine as long as none of them also has a TV in their bedrooms.

Neil75
25-08-2009, 21:09 PM
there is no offical certification for uk locksmiths

report back what your smug tenant comes back with please :)

I very much doubt all over them wont have a TV in their room and remember any equipment that can receive TV signals requireds a license wether its used or not... so non of them have laptops with DVB cards either? If they cause trouble for you cause some for them. TV licensing will hound them to death

mind the gap
25-08-2009, 21:52 PM
If they cause trouble for you cause some for them. TV licensing will hound them to death

:rolleyes:Probably not the best way to get the tenancy off to a professional start. In the end, people in shared houses prefer locks on their bedroom doors and they provide better security. They are not hideously expensive. It is probably not worth going to the gallows over.

Rodent1
25-08-2009, 22:27 PM
Working locks but no keys ?

If simple locks then pre cut keys (usually lettered) can be purchased over the counter, this means that T can then operate lock, by key from the inside of the room ......that is a big NO NO.

Locks should be replaced with thumb turn operated, which can be purchased for <£10 each and are a diy fit. If you insist upon leaving original locks in situ then locks should disabled or keyholes plated (both sides).

NOTE: Any doors on fire escape route (ie front and back doors) should also be thumb turn and not key operated from the inside.

This is not a huge expense to you and IMO is very much your responsibility, morally, if not legally.

Hows this for your local paper headline:

"Student burns to death after local LL refuses to fit proper doorlocks on rented property"

Neil75
27-08-2009, 00:01 AM
is there legistration in place stating the lock rule? obv there will be for HMO's but what about normal lets?

mind the gap
27-08-2009, 08:07 AM
is there legistration in place stating the lock rule? obv there will be for HMO's but what about normal lets?

Assuming you mean 'legislation' and not 'registration', then the rules may well be different for non-HMOs. You would have to check with your local council as some councils have additional legislation regarding H & S which all LLs must comply with.

However, a fire officer told me that in his view it is better to have no locks at all than locks which are not instantly openable from inside without a key. If people are trapped in smoke filled rooms in the dark, panicking, the last thing they should be doing is trying to find a key and then find the keyhole. Think about it.

psychology1989
27-08-2009, 15:06 PM
Hi,

I am a student...and reading this thread has made me realise how much you landlords are out to get us. We're not all skanky students who want to scrounge off of our landlords. At the moment I am trying to get my landlord to put locks on our bedroom doors, for security reasons. I'm not trying to be difficult; the other day a student property over the road to my house was broken into. This makes me feel very unsafe, and I would feel a lot better if there was a lock on my bedroom door. It's also about privacy; I don't want people bursting into my room all the time, and as I have a sleep disorder that causes me to have hallucinations, I want to feel safe when I'm sleeping.

It makes me sad and angry that landlords can't be bothered with their tenants; if you don't like students, don't be a student landlord!!! As for the thing with the tv licensing, don't bloody patronise us. We won't "pipe down" if you bring that on us - we have a communal tv in our living room anyway so it's irrelevant.

I really think you should all stop being so nasty about students; as a landlord you should be wanting to make your tenants stay as comfortable and amicable as possible, you don't want to build a wall in between, as the tenants will only reverse it and then make it difficult for you.

Just please understand that some - in fact most, - students are decent and simply want a nice, secure property to live in. You should respect that.

jta
27-08-2009, 15:16 PM
Hi,

I am a student...and reading this thread has made me realise how much you landlords are out to get us. We're not all skanky students who want to scrounge off of our landlords.

Coo! Did someone just stand on your toe or something? This whole thread is about the advisability of fitting safety locks, not about getting students.
Such a bad tempered first post makes me wonder about your chosen name, is that what you are studying or the year you were first committed?

Telometer
27-08-2009, 15:27 PM
If students want locks on their bedroom doors then they should rent properties that have them.

It's not that difficult to engage brain and check that the essential items are present in a property before signing up to a 12 month tenancy agreement, is it?


"I rented a room with a single bed that's not big enough for a double bed. My landlord refuses to extend the house in order to fit in a double bed so I can share it with my girlfriend. It's a shame that landlords can't be bothered with their tenants, you should be wanting to make their stay as comfortable as possible. So if they ask for an 80" plasma TV, give it to them."

jeffrey
27-08-2009, 15:33 PM
Quote:
"I rented a room with a single bed that's not big enough for a double bed. My landlord refuses to extend the house in order to fit in a double bed so I can share it with my girlfriend. It's a shame that landlords can't be bothered with their tenants, you should be wanting to make their stay as comfortable as possible. So if they ask for an 80" plasma TV, give it to them."

Perhaps landlords should supply girlfriends/boyfriends for tenants, too?

HenryTaylor
27-08-2009, 17:05 PM
Hi,

I am a student...and reading this thread has made me realise how much you landlords are out to get us......

Respect works both ways, and with that attitude I'd be surprised if your landlord afforded you any at all.

mind the gap
27-08-2009, 17:16 PM
Hi,

I am a student...and reading this thread has made me realise how much you landlords are out to get us. We're not all skanky students who want to scrounge off of our landlords. At the moment I am trying to get my landlord to put locks on our bedroom doors, for security reasons. I'm not trying to be difficult; the other day a student property over the road to my house was broken into. This makes me feel very unsafe, and I would feel a lot better if there was a lock on my bedroom door. It's also about privacy; I don't want people bursting into my room all the time, and as I have a sleep disorder that causes me to have hallucinations, I want to feel safe when I'm sleeping.

It makes me sad and angry that landlords can't be bothered with their tenants; if you don't like students, don't be a student landlord!!! As for the thing with the tv licensing, don't bloody patronise us. We won't "pipe down" if you bring that on us - we have a communal tv in our living room anyway so it's irrelevant.

I really think you should all stop being so nasty about students; as a landlord you should be wanting to make your tenants stay as comfortable and amicable as possible, you don't want to build a wall in between, as the tenants will only reverse it and then make it difficult for you.

Just please understand that some - in fact most, - students are decent and simply want a nice, secure property to live in. You should respect that.

Please calm down and stop flinging accusations around.

I am a student landlord and I am certainly not out to 'get at' students at all. The majority of what I have posted on this thread has been factual information relating to fire safety in all tenancies, combined with advice about types of locks to fit. If you read what I have put, you will see that I acknowledge that most tenants in shared houses prefer locks on their doors and I have no problem with that. I also challenged Neil 75's somewhat thoughtless remark about making life difficult for them if they do that to you. Perhaps you are reading a little selectively?

The 'pipe down' remark was in response to OP's description of his particular group of tenants who were clearly out to 'get' him in that they had discovered some rather obscure regulation about door locks/keys and were holding it over his head, rather than negotiating and asking in a civilised fashion, as I am sure you or I would do. Tenants who do this, understandably do not endear themselves to LLs and I have had experience of groups of tenants who insist on locks (fiar enough) but then moan for Europe because they are then legally required to buy a TV licence each. If they only have one set in the communal area - great. All fine and dandy.

I agree with you that most students are decent people and it is good that they are security conscious. However, although this may not be what you are really like, you have created the impression on this thread that you are rather belligerent and given to stereotyping people. If you post again, perhaps you can persuade us otherwise.

theartfullodger
27-08-2009, 17:41 PM
Perhaps landlords should supply girlfriends/boyfriends for tenants, too?

Sigh!

Perhaps tenants should supply girlfriends/boyfrien.... oops!! There was a recent post concerning getting friendly with tenants that ended in tears/laughter:
http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=21543

Better not go there again!!!

Cheers!

Lodger

red40
27-08-2009, 18:17 PM
Not that I advocating not being up on HMO legislation. I think in this instance you would be financially better off fitting the euro sash locks for a nominal fee. Than to have the occupants running to the student housing officer or the CAB, who I assume will know more about HMO's than you and inform the council of the situation.

I also assume its only a 2 storey house and you dont have a test certificate for the fixed electrical installation, or have fire doors fitted, or an adequate smoke detection system installed, etc, etc, do you see where I am going with this Henry.

I know you are not up on the legislation but you need to be and very quickly!

worriedstudent87
29-08-2009, 00:44 AM
Just moved to a new student house, only tenant right now but when I went to lock door so I could go to bed a few hours back I noticed there was what looked to be a washer or something blocking the keys from going in bedroom side and upon checking the other bedrooms they are all the same.

What worries me is that anyone could enter, not so much now but when other tenants move in and say I am in bed and they could take something without me noticing(since I am a person with disabilities which make me nervous and stutter and I have arthritis etc)

Also means if say the landlord comes round one time if we ever fall out and he wants to come in to shout at me or something he can(has happened to me in the past even had one say what a saint he was for not ripping my quilt off one time when I was a few days late with rent) I have also had landlords who nosey about my possesions including one who knocked on the door for the £1 a week top up of HB and I had a bad cold at the time so could barely mutter or get out of bed so he came in without my permission and was shocked when I was actually inside my room!

The landlord does seem like a nice guy and out of over a dozen if not more landlords I have had since leaving home he is only one of two to be so friendly that he has given me lifts, chats for ages to me and rings me to check up that everythings ok and even offered me a tv as I havent got one yet etc however he failed to see what the problem was with the locks being that way.

Any idea on what to say to get the landlord to understand or do you think I am overreacting.

jta
29-08-2009, 07:25 AM
This has probably been done as a safety measure for you. If there was a fire, and you had to get out in a hurry, would you want to be messing about looking for keys to open the door? Ask your LL nicely if he would consent to a thumb operated latch on the inside of the door.

theartfullodger
29-08-2009, 07:47 AM
http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=21806

theartfullodger
29-08-2009, 07:53 AM
Your Landlord sounds too too friendly.... I'd be nervous as to his motives...
re

even offered me a tv as
Has it been PAT tested?? The TV Licence question is interesting when LL supplies TV: Both of you can be sued if there is no licence, £1k max file.

btw which Uni???

Cheers!

Lodger

MrAgent
29-08-2009, 09:01 AM
This has probably been done as a safety measure for you. If there was a fire, and you had to get out in a hurry, would you want to be messing about looking for keys to open the door? Ask your LL nicely if he would consent to a thumb operated latch on the inside of the door.

It is a safety measure (sort of), it is a cheap way for the landlord to circumvent/comply (sort of) with the HMO regs that requre locks to be opeable from the inside without the use of a key.

By gluing something over the inside keyhole he has avoided paying £35+ per lock to replace the internal lock latch, a new euro profile cylinder and door handles. It is just a way of saving money however at a cost to your security if in the room.

Cheapest way to fix would be to put an internal latch, but my local council do not allow this measure as if there were an emergency there would be no way of getting into the room (even if you had the keys) without force.

mind the gap
29-08-2009, 09:25 AM
Cheapest way to fix would be to put an internal latch, but my local council do not allow this measure as if there were an emergency there would be no way of getting into the room (even if you had the keys) without force.

In an emergency surely force would be justified if there were no other option?

And if OP fits a simple latch and hook on the inside as suggested, it would prevent anyone coming in yet still be as easily opnened from the inside as a thumb latch. It would not take much 'force' to break such a latch in an emergency, but it would offer more protection to OP than the present arrangement. I think LL should fit the correct sort of lock, needless to say.

P.Pilcher
29-08-2009, 11:49 AM
If this had happened to me in my student days, I would have been tempted to quietly remove the washer and use the lock from the inside with my supplied key. For safety I would have left the key in the lock which would also have prevented my landlord from entering the room with his. On finishing I would of course have restored the washer to it's lock blocking function.

P.P.

westminster
29-08-2009, 12:19 PM
You could get a personal/portable alarm - one that hangs on the door handle or a door wedge version. e.g.

http://www.c-p-p.co.uk/_door_security/asp/CtgID/1032/af/page.htm

While it wouldn't physically prevent entry it would wake you up/ scare off anyone thinking they could sneak in quietly.

Bel
30-08-2009, 12:45 PM
If you feel strongly that you would like to force your LL to provide a lock function from inside, then you could ask you local council environmental health officer if it fails the HHSRS (Housing Health and Saftey Regulations Standards) not to have an intenal method of locking in a multi-occupancy building.

They may have a word and force your LL to take measures. If he is skimping safety regs in other areas may be forced to upgrade in those areas also.

You will be undoubtably very popular with him after that; but he should be responsible about your safety so what the heck.

ThEre was a debate about providing a lock in a bathroom which you may be interested to read

http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=19859

worriedstudent87
31-08-2009, 03:02 AM
you shouldnt be locking yourself in your bedroom in your house anyway, if u dont feel safe in the house FIND A NEW HOUSE

It isnt just a case of safety though that is important I also want privacy especially in a student house as I may go to bed early and someone may decide to wake me up for a laugh or move stuff about(believe me it has happened in past) or a drunk person may walk in or such or even just someone checking if I am in the house so they can steal something

I think the bit of metal is just sat in there so I can remove it easily I hope and also noticed there is supposed to be a chain on each door but the one in mine is missing wheras they arent in other rooms.

Rodent1
31-08-2009, 13:57 PM
There has been some downright irresponsible advice issued on this thread.

Any lock on the door should operable by key on the outside and thumb turn on inside(FOR THE SAME LOCK), advice to the contrary should be ignored.

Key turn on inside is dangerous due to possibility of not being able to locate the key in the dark or/and smokey atmosphere.

Blocking up room side of door lock only is wholly unacceptable. Try this scenario T brings "guest" for the night, gets up worse for wear in the morning and leaves locking still sleeping guest into bedroom. Further he then locks front door(mortice lock) behind T as he leaves.

(Perhaps LL also could neglect to fit fire doors, intu strips, door closers, smoke alarms, fail to ensure rooms have 30 min rated walls and ceilings, and windows are not suitable for escape in the event of a fire )

Never mind Legislation on this: common sense, moral responsibilty and your conscience should be more than enough to inspire any LL to fit safe and proper door locks....this applies to front and back door locks as well.

"Guest" then wakes up to find house on fire ......
Anyone explain to me how the guest is supposed to get out ?


I found myself in this position 25 years ago (without the fire!) and had to stay put in the room all day until 6 pm until the "girl" came home from work.

Moderator1
02-09-2009, 11:32 AM
Less-serious posts about bedroom door locks have been moved to a new Take A Break thread:
http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=22023.