Having the landlord change the locks

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I am moving into a new apartment and the previous tenant was supposed to handover all the keys (2 sets for the Building and Apartment, one for the Letterbox, Backdoor, Cellar, and Electricity Meter).

 

All he gave me was one for the building and one for the apartment, the other 6 are missing. I called the tenant and asked when I could expect them and he got annoyed saying he already told the landlord he never had them in the first place.

 

So I emailed the landlord telling her that and asked her to speak to him. Now he says he lost them all.

 

This to me sounds very suspicious and I am away from home for long periods of time due to work. So in the interest of security, can I ask the landlord to change the locks at the previous tenant's expense?

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I think the landlord is legally required to change the locks in such a situation. If the previous tenant lost the keys he is then responsible to pay the bill, but that is b/w him and the landlord and nothing to do with you.

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That the previous tenant allegedly lost the keys is irrelevant for you. Your contract is with the landlord, not with the previous tenant, and the landlord must provide you with a full set of keys. If she has to have the locks changed to do so is her problem and nothing to do with you. Isn't there a clause in your rental contract which states that you have received a certain number of keys and what they are for?

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The person moving out of my current place never showed up for the handing over of the keys and had just left one set with a neighbour. The carpenter arrived first thing the next morning to fix a problem with one of the doors and also changed the locks - it seemed to me it was a fairly standard thing to do (and I'm sure they took a huge amount of money out of her deposit for having to do it).

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@Heathclyffe

My point isn't about receiving a full set of keys. I will get a full set of keys from the landlady as she is making copies to replace the lost ones.

 

My question is can I legally "demand" she changes the locks since the previous tenant lost/still may have a set?

 

It's a security concern as I live alone and I travel a lot for work (up to one month at a time).

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If the landlady already gave back the deposit money to the old tenant, you will probably have a hard time convincing her to change the locks.

If she hasn't given the deposit back yet it's certainly worth a try since it doesn't cost the landlady anything, just the old tenant.

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I would check the lease to see if changing the locks is explicitly forbidden. If not, change ahead but keep the old lock and key/s so you can replace it and hand it/them back when you move out. Simples.

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I would rather not pay to change the locks myself although I will if the landlady does not agree.

 

I was just wondering if there is some rental law saying that the landlady must change the locks if the previous tenant lost the keys or something. I'm not sure has she given the deposit back yet, I have asked the her to change them, I am awaiting her reply.

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A new lock a good one will cost 70€ for your own peace of mind buy one yourself, They come in several sizes 30-40 (that is 30mm one side then the bolt or barrel and 40mm on the other)the 30-30 40-40 etc etc.. best is to take out the lock you have measure both sides, draw around it whatever, photograph it with a ruler beside it... then skip off to the Bau markt. and get a new one they are mostly held in place with one long screw.

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Check out your rental contract it normally stipulates how many sets of keys have been handed over or should be given to you.If this is not the case then you can send a letter to your landlord by registered post telling them you want new locks put in.If they do not then you send another letter also registered explaining to them that they have until a certain time to replace the locks.If it is niot done by this time then you will get someone to come in change the locks and pass the bill on to the landlord.If they are not happy about this then you will get the lockas changed and take the costs of this off the next months rent.EASY

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It is common in residential and office buildings owned by one landlord that all locks are part of one specially made “Schließanlage”. If your landlord owns several, if not all of the flats in your building, then to replace your lock can mean having to replace all other locks in the building too, and the costs for this can easily run into thousands of Euros. This has been held by the courts to be necessary when a lost key has had some form of identification which could lead to the premises to which it belongs; cost of replacement is the responsibility of the loser. They have also decided that a key irretrievably lost or without any identification can be simply replaced by a new one.

 

The obvious question is whether the loser would admit to having lost a traceable key in a busy high street in the middle of the day (admitting liability for a potentially very expensive claim), or simply say it was unmarked and that he dropped it into the middle of a deep fast flowing river – and have to pay a few Euros for a new one … Can he prove it? Can you or the landlord prove otherwise?

 

By far the best solution is to simply invest in a high-quality lock yourself (bearing in mind sarabyrd’s comment), and when you vacate, simply put the original(s) back in. Only by doing this can you be certain that nobody else (landlord, estate agent, previous tenant, burglar etc.) has a key for whatever reason. You have no dispute with the landlord and have considerably improved security at home whilst absent. I always do this following a move as a matter of course, solely on the grounds of security.

 

Disclaimer: I am not legally qualified in Germany and any comments shown here represent a personal opinion only.

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