Is the landlord required to replace a lock for the tenant?

6 04 2010

We are managing a property which has an old-fashioned type of lock on the patio door, it can only be locked from the inside via a pull down lever latch. There is also a lock to but the key has been missing for many years.

Q

New tenants have just moved in and are requesting either to be given a key for the existing lock, or for it to be replaced. Given that the first option is not possible, is the landlord required to replace the lock?

A

Technically there is nothing requiring that the landlord provide a specific standard of lock. However there are a few points to consider in this case. Firstly, refusing to replace the lock may sour the relationship with the tenant which is more likely to cause problems in the future. This is a very reasonable request on the part of the tenant, and if the landlord complies the tenant is less likely to leave, which may well cost the landlord the same money he is trying to save.

Furthermore, whilst the landlord doesn’t necessarily have to replace the lock, there was a case where a rental house was burgled, partly due to a faulty lock. In this case the landlord ended up being held liable for the stolen possessions.

So all in all my recommendation would be to have the lock replaced anyway, it will if nothing else keep your current and future tenants happy.

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