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What should you do when a tenant loses their keys or locks themself out?

14 May 2014 Loretta Morgan

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Recently I had a discussion on what a tenant or agent should do when they lock their keys inside their property or lose them, and found that many agents have different policies.

If you're renting a property and lock your keys inside or lose them after hours, what do you think should be done in this situation?

Should your agent go to the property to let you in? Should your agent charge a call out fee? Should your agent recommend they get a locksmith?  


Loads of great feedback from both agents and tenants concluded the following.

You should definitely have this written in your agency policy and given to the tenants so they are aware of their obligations and what will happen in the likely event.

Some tenants were appalled at the lack of compassion for their circumstances and felt it was unfair to charge a call out or get a locksmith, and some tenants agreed that a call out fee should be charged or a locksmith obtained.

Some agents charge a call out fee of between $150 and $200, and even out price a locksmith so they do not have to attend. Some tenants were shocked at this and upset to see they would be charged.

Some agents are more than happy to attend to a call out in hours or after hours without charge.

In closing, there are varying different opinions on this subject and I believe that it should really be a case by case, agency by agency policy. Hey, if you're happy to go to the property for free, then do it. If you want to charge, do it; if the tenant has to get a locksmith as a result, make sure this is all in your policy provided to your tenants.

Until next time...

What should you do when a tenant loses their keys or locks themself out?
loretta m
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Loretta Morgan has over 17 years' experience in the property industry, ranging from managing residential real estate to major commercial and industrial portfolios for private and institutional investors.

Loretta was a finalist in the 2011 REIQ Awards for Excellence - Commercial Property Manager of the Year category and also a finalist in the 2013 REIQ Awards for Excellence - Residential Property Manager of the Year. This year, Loretta was a finalist in the Sunshine Coast Business Women's Network - Young Business Woman of the Year, regional finalist in the Australian Institute of Management Excellence Awards and finalist in the Sunshine Coast Business Awards.

Loretta is also a member of the REIQ, Young Industry Professionals Advisory Panel.

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