Locks on inner doors, the legal position

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    Locks on inner doors, the legal position

    I've read various posts about this but nothing says definitively what the legal position is so I am hoping someone can clarify.

    My daughter has just started renting a room in a shared flat in London. The other tenants are strangers; she has a separate individual tenants agreement. She is very concerned that there is no lock on her own bedroom door. I've seen other posts that say that there should be a level of trust with other tenants but these people are - for now anyway - strangers so this is a very worrying situation.

    She has asked her agent to fit a lock. The agent agrees to fit one but says that my daughter must pay a call-out fee of £65. Other posts suggest that as an individual agreement (not shared) it is the landlord/agent's obligation to fit locks but when she pointed that out to the agent the response was: "FYI there is no legal obligation to provide the lock, that would only stand for AST contracts however we operate with licence agreements."

    What are the legalities here? She can't easily afford £65 but even if she could it feels like the agent is trying to palm off some of the expense.

    Thanks for any advice.

    I dont think the landlord is legally obliged to fit locks even on individually rented rooms. It might be a licence condition if its a licensed HMO but otherwise try asking for permission to fit it yourself


      Many, particularly HMO, landlords pretend that they have licence agreements, to avoid their legal responsibilities. Often these are legally invalid, and there is really an AST.

      If they are trying to argue a licence agreement, they cannot let your daughter have exclusive access to any part of the property, so they cannot allow her to fit locks..

      I would look for a more responsible landlord, as the earliest opportunity, but expect to pay more.


        There is no legal requirement to have a lock (or, conversely, not to have one).

        There is an issue associated with locks and what is being rented by someone.
        If the person renting has exclusive access to a room and shares a kitchen/bathroom/other room(s) the rental is almost certainly a tenancy.
        If a room has a lock that's usually evidence of exclusive possession.

        Some agreements require that the occupant grants access, for cleaning or delivering a meal - in which case, there's an argument that there's no exclusive access and the agreement isn't a tenancy, it's a kind of licence.

        Tenants have more rights than licensees, particularly with regard to notice.

        In that situation, I'd want a lock (and if I were the agent, I'd probably want there to be no lock).
        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


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