It is not required to install locks on the doors when renting a house or flat too, say, four persons on a joint and several bases. Unless the renters specifically request it as a condition of renting the property.
- There is no legal distinction between renting a property to four students and renting a house to any other sort of renter. It’s only four persons sharing a tenancy on a joint and several bases.
- In terms of you, because all of the tenants are renting the property together, they all have an equal right to utilize it. They will, no likely, come to an arrangement between themselves on who should use which room.
- It alters, however, if they each rent their room separately and have their own lease agreement for the exclusive use of their room and joint use of the rest of the house.
- Then you must put a lock on the door since the other tenants do not have permission to enter. The renter is the only one who rents the room.
In the case of a renter renting a room in a shared house
If a renter has their own leasing agreement for their own room and shares the rest of the property with the other tenants, all of whom have their own tenancy agreement for their own room.
You may also like to read: “How to lock a keyhole without the key?“
Then sure, locks should be installed on the doors. The room is the tenant’s “property,” and because it is a tenancy, they have the authority to keep anyone out. That includes you.
As a result, the room must have a lock.
If the renter is sharing a house or flat with several people
If all of the renters have signed a single agreement, this is what I mean. It is entirely up to the parties to decide what they want and agrees on.
- In terms of the legal status, the tenants are collectively renting the entire property. As a result, they all have the same right to utilize all of the rooms.
- Of course, they’ll almost probably each have their own room in the house and may want to keep their shared renters out.
- They do not, however, have the legal authority to demand that the landlord install locks on the doors if they do not already exist. It is up to the renters to resolve this issue on their own.
- If the landlord is requested, the landlord may or may not allow the renter to install their own locks on the doors.
- Even if the landlord refuses, there isn’t much the renter can do to prevent the tenant from installing a lock on the door at their own expense.
You may also like to read: “What type of tenant would you never rent to?“
However, if the lock harms the door in any way, or if the landlord truly does not want the lock on the door, the landlord will usually be able to deduct the expense of having the lock removed and the door made good from the deposit at the conclusion of the tenancy.
Can tenants, in general, change the locks?
There is no universal right to change locks and evict the landlord without *reason* (and even the ’cause’ is debatable as to whether it is acceptable). It’s possible that changing the locks without authorization means the renter is:
Defaulting on the tenancy agreement’s provisions
Committing “criminal damage” because the property is being changed without the consent of the landlord.
In general, renters have no justification or legal authority to change the locks or refuse to hand over the keys to the landlord unless they have a legitimate cause (which I discuss further down).
Why is it forbidden to change locks?
It can be difficult for landlords to get access to the property in order to perform their obligations, many of which are legally required.
- It restricts landlords’ access to the property in the event of an emergency.
- Changing the locks might be considered making alterations to the property, which renters are typically not allowed to do without permission.
- As a landlord, I understand why renters shouldn’t be able to replace the locks without permission.
So, when is it OK for renters to replace their locks?
According to what I’ve read, there is no crystal-cut answer, and the evidence is largely circumstantial as to whether changing locks is justified:
- If the landlord gives the renter specific authorization (permission should be granted in writing)
- If the tenancy agreement contains a clause that allows it (which it generally does not).
- On the contrary, there’s generally a provision in the contract that says it’s not allowed.)
- If the landlord is harassing the renter.
- If the keys have been misplaced, the tenant’s safety has been jeopardized
- In this instance, the renter should notify the landlord and work with him to fix the issue, and the landlord should not be denied a new set of keys.
You may also like to read: “How to make a tenant want to leave?“
If the renter does alter the locks, the original fixtures and fittings should be preserved. Even if the renter has valid grounds for changing the locks, any damages caused by them during the operation might be recovered from the security deposit.
What is the tenancy agreement’s policy on lock changes?
The majority of conventional rental agreements expressly prohibit tenants from altering the locks. However, it’s worth double-checking what yours says.
If there isn’t a provision directly addressing the locks, or especially concerning replacing the locks, there is generally a condition prohibiting making alterations to the property – which I assume includes locks.
You may also like to read: “What if a tenant doesn’t leave? What can be done?“
If the locks are changed without reason or consent,
If the rental agreement expressly prohibits the landlord from changing the locks or other improvements to the property, the landlord is authorized to do so and charge the tenant for the costs spent. At the end of the tenancy, the cost is usually taken from the deposit.
Tenants who change locks are evicted
If you believe your tenant has changed the locks with the aim of denying you reasonable access to the property for necessary responsibilities like inspections, viewings, or to attend to repairs and maintenance concerns, I would recommend terminating the tenancy.
If the renter is obstructing access unnecessarily, you might seek an injunction from the county court.