When to rekey locks for a new tenant is this week’s question for veteran real estate investor, landlord and property manager Hank Rossi.

Dear Landlord Hank:

Do you rekey your rentals every time you change a tenant?  Our tenants are good about returning keys to us when they vacate the units, especially if they want to get their full security deposit back. We try to avoid the extra cost of calling a locksmith and rekeying every time a new tenant moves in and wondering what is the best practice? And, if you do, do you just rekey or do you replace the whole lock?

– Sam


Dear Landlord Sam,

I don’t know of any legal requirement to change locks between tenants.

But I think it’s a good idea to do so.

I don’t rekey a lock due to the expense but will change locks. I keep a reserve of locks and keys and it’s a five-minute job to change a single lock.

Smart locks might be a consideration

As locks go bad, you can replace with “Smart Locks” and can rekey those in one minute yourself.

They are more expensive but sure are easy to use, and then you can tell your new tenants that the locks have been changed, for their piece of mind.


Hank Rossi

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Landlord Hank at work on one of his properties