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Avoid using handleset locks at apartments

When it comes to managing properties, its generally best to keep things as simple as possible. One of the most common “emergency” issues many landlords encounter is a tenant locking themselves out of their apartment. Even if you live nearby, having to deal with such problems can be a major nuisance. Thankfully, there is something you can target to help cut back on lockouts: handleset locks on entry doors.

Most properties nowadays have both a handle lock and a deadbolt. In order to lock the deadbolt, a person must use a key to lock it from the outside. If a tenant locks that lock, its safe to say that they didn’t leave their keys on the coffee table. On the other hand, handle locks can be quite tricky. If you lock the handleset from the inside and close the door, the door isn’t opening without the key. Most lockouts happen because of this. Especially if the tenant has kids. To make matters worse, some handleset models will actually rotate from the inside of the door even if the door is locked. These handles make accidental lockouts even easier.

This problem can be removed if you simply don’t install handle locks at your apartments. Tenants can still lose their keys, but this will remove one of the more common causes of lockouts. On a cautionary note, you also need to consider the security issues surrounding the removal of a handle lock. A locked handleset and deadbolt, in tandem, are much more burglar-proof than one lock alone. If you remove your handle lockset, I would recommend using a little higher quality deadbolt and perhaps installing an oversized metal security plate on the inside of the door frame.

Whatever you do, just be concious of the side-effects on property security. But if you mitigate any potential issues, removing those handle locks can be a real time saver.

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Matt Kastner

Matt Kastner is an Investment Real Estate Consultant at St. Louis Real Estate Society in St. Louis, Missouri. He is also develops properties on the side through Threshold Properties. When he isn't representing investors in the purchase or sale of multifamily properties, rehabs, foreclosures and other income producing properties, he is often taking on rehab projects himself. He lives in South St. Louis and has been in the real estate business since 2004.

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2 thoughts on “Avoid using handleset locks at apartments”

  • Seth Teel

    May 2, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Great post Matt. I have had this problem repeatedly at a property. We eventually installed a lock box. During my search for a better solution, I stumbled upon SmartKeys by Kwikset. Its doesnt solve the lockout problem, but keeps you from having to switch out the locks each time the tenants change. This video shows how they work: http://is.gd/bRCQW

    Reply
    • Matt Kastner

      May 4, 2010 at 10:33 am

      A lockbox can definitively help. THe only issue is that you would need a lockbox for every unit in a building. Otherwise, giving the tenant the code would allow them to get in the other units. As for smartkeys, I actually have used those a copy times. Never really thought about them for apartments, but they would be good for easy rekeying on tenant move-out.

      Reply

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