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Dec, 2014

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  1. #1

    Default Landlords' rights to retain keys to property?

    For the past six months, I rented my flat through a letting agent, who retained a set of keys in the agency and I retained a set of keys to the property and never used them, as the tenants did not call for any work to be undertaken.

    After a dreadful six months, I am letting the property to a colleague without using a letting agency.

    I have retained keys, as before and fully respect the Quiet Enjoyment to the tenant should have and have advised, I would only use them if there was an emergency and she specifically asked me to attend or if she was not able to be contacted and there was a fire, flood or similar emergency.

    She moved in Friday, 24 hours earlier than expected and had agreed in advance that the decorators painting the communal hallway would be there on Saturday, when she was due to move in and would need access to the flat for a short time. Her boyfriend seemed most concerned that my mother had a set of keys to the property whilst supervising the decorators, even though it had been my home for nine years and that was the only other spare set and thought they should be surrendered. I was not aware that the tenant was the only person allowed to have keys to the property and as long as I did not make visits to the property, without prior agreement and good reason, I should surrender any keys to the tenant.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    5,129

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KTZ32 View Post
    Her boyfriend seemed most concerned that my mother had a set of keys to the property whilst supervising the decorators, even though it had been my home for nine years and that was the only other spare set and thought they should be surrendered. I was not aware that the tenant was the only person allowed to have keys to the property and as long as I did not make visits to the property, without prior agreement and good reason, I should surrender any keys to the tenant.
    No, twaddle. Personally, my standard AST states clearly that 'the landlord will retain keys to the property' so that's all above board and agreed before the tenancy even starts - I don't know if it makes any difference if yours doesn't include the clause? But I can't imagine why any tenant would think it in the least unusual that a landlord would keep a spare set of keys to his own property.

    But there's not a lot you can do if the tenant decides to change the locks and not give you the new key, other than do a (section 21, no-fault) reposession.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Andalucía
    Posts
    9,911

    Default

    There is no law preventing a landlord from retaining a key.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Sheffield
    Posts
    39,409

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ericthelobster View Post
    No, twaddle. Personally, my standard AST states clearly that 'the landlord will retain keys to the property' so that's all above board and agreed before the tenancy even starts - I don't know if it makes any difference if yours doesn't include the clause? But I can't imagine why any tenant would think it in the least unusual that a landlord would keep a spare set of keys to his own property.

    But there's not a lot you can do if the tenant decides to change the locks and not give you the new key, other than do a (section 21, no-fault) reposession.
    But what if the AST prohibits T from changing locks and cutting more keys?
    L could then serve T under s.8, using ground 12 [breach of non-rent obligation], although I appreciate that g12 is only discretionary.
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  5. #5

    Default Thanks for the feedback

    Thanks, I searched through the Tenancy Agreement from the agency which I replicated in the new agreement that locks must not be changed by the tenant. I also provided an information pack stating as it is a Victorian property, not a block of flats and each of the five flats holds a key to the front door because of the central fire alarm being inside the main hallway. Two of the five flats, have their own front door and do not use the communal front door or hallway for access.

    However, when I put a new lock on the front door, I had a similar lock put on my flat, so there is one key which opens the front and flat door. All the other flats have front door only, tenant has tow of the keys that open both locks. Cost to replace both locks is £350 & £10 a key. She knows if she loses the keys, she will be charged for both locks to be replaced and for ten new keys. The keys cannot be cut by a standard key cutter, only by the locksmith who fitted the locks when ordered by me so new keys cannot be cut and distributed, hence my previous tenants not being able to provide all their extra tenants in the flat with keys.

    Thanks for the responses, I did not think there was anything specific about landlords not having keys, just not giving themselves access to the flat without permission and good reason. The tenant has not said anything, just the boyfriend who is not living there.

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