Locksmiths advice for HMO landlords
Today we have a quick article from a Leeds Locksmith Leeds Locksmith who has some advice on how to make managing your properties easier, especially HMO properties.
I am a locksmith and a HMO landlord in Leeds so I have a good amount of knowledge of the ins and out of property management and
property investing. Although I became a property investor prior to learning about Samuel Leeds, I still subscribe and keep up to date with his youtube channel as you can never stop learning. I wish to give a little knowledge back in return.
Something that still puzzles me to day is why landlords still install key operated locks on their tenants doors.
In this day and age keys are almost obsolete. This is 2022!
Almost weekly I receive calls from tenants or landlords asking me to go and let in their tenants as they have lost their keys.
Due to lockdown restrictions ending, more people are going out again (getting drunk) resulting in tenants getting locked out.
Time and time again I go out and help these tenants and often landlords get the bill (and the late night calls).
This is great for me of course been a locksmith! However these kind of issues really could be avoided.
On my own properties I use (and reccomend) digital borg locks. Not ‘electrical' digital locks, but mechanical digitial locks (also known as borg locks).
I have used these locks on my tenants doors for over 10 years and they are perfect. The tenants cannot lose the keys as there are none!
All they need is a password! If they forget, I text it over to them!
Because my properties are HMOs I rent per room as opposed to per property so turnover is higher than your standard rentals (yearly).
Once a tenant leaves you can simply open the locks and change the password to a new one for the next tenant, no keys to cut!
I know some landlords who have decided to get a little too clever for their own good. Some have installed electronic digital locks, they can be opened
by your tenants with their bluetooth phone or finger prints etc. Big mistake. Not only do they cost a fortune, but when electronics become involved, there are
more things to go wrong, and of course the batteries constantly need replacing.
So I reccomend sticking with the middle ground option, don't use key locks but also don't go crazy wih advanced wireless locks. Keep it
smart and simple with push button, mechanical, digital locks.
Something worth mentioning is about insurance polices. Many landlords often say to me that they thought they have to use standard key locks for insurance policies.
Well this can often indeed be true for the external door to the building. However more often than not, the internal bedroom doors (for example in a HMO) it can be anything
If you still insist on using key locks for your properties than fair enough, some people like what they know!
If so I would at least reccomend installing a small keysafe lockbox on the front of your properties with a spare key inside. Whenever a tenant gets locked out, simply
give them the password for the lockbox over the phone and they have a spare key. (Of course you should charge them for the key to encourage them to be more responaible
in the future). Also, I shouldn't really be saying this but, you really don't need to call a locksmith to fit a key safe for you! It just needs 4 holes drilling to attach it to the wall any handyman could do it for you!
One last thing. I provide all my tenants with a battery powered alarm for each of their rooms. Aside from improving their security, this really helps to make them feel like the room is ‘their own' and protected. It also shows that you are a considerate landlord, as there is no legal requirement to provide alarms for rooms in HMOs.
The batteries usually last around 2 years so require very little hassle.
There you go, just a little bit of information for you to assist in your property journey!