Whose Responsibility For Change Of Locks?

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    Whose Responsibility For Change Of Locks?

    Just wondering what people's opinions were on this.

    The block has a front door that opens onto a courtyard and then a door that leads into a stairwell and then the door to the flat. A separate key is needed for each door.

    The tenant says he put the latch on the door to the flat and locked his bedroom door and went to sleep. When he woke up he couldn't open the bedroom door due to a fault with it. He says he wasn't able to call his flatmate (who hadn't spent the night at the flat) to come and let him out because the latch was on the door to the flat so he had no option to call out a locksmith. Since the latch was on, the locksmith had to drill the lock to get into the flat and then take off the bedroom lock/handle to let the T out.

    The locksmith's bill came to £310. I assumed this was for replacing both locks and leaving everything in working order but it turns out the £310 covered only his labour for opening both doors and for replacing the barrel on the flat door. Rip-off cost aside, do you believe that it is the landlord who should be responsible for all of this cost?

    #2
    Rip off cost aside.

    Assuming there's no other way in or out of the bedroom, I'm not sure what else the tenant was meant to do.
    They were locked in their bedroom and, with the latch on, no one could get in without causing some damage.
    Luckily it was a locksmith, because someone else might have tried to kick the door in.

    Unless the tenant caused the bedroon lock to fail I don't see why they are liable for anything.
    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).

    Comment


      #3
      This sounds like a potential HMO. If it is an HMO, it will be an illegal HMO if anything more than a thumb turn was needed to open the bedroom door. Consider yourself lucky you aren't dealing with a roasted tenant and a manslaughter charge!

      Note that all the other doors need to be keyless from the inside.

      Even if there are only two tenants in the flat, I think it would be considered a significant fire safety failing.

      Comment


        #4
        Agree with above mostly -- but why did tenant not call you (or did he?). But springing a bedroom door is easy - so which door was this exactly?

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
          Rip off cost aside.

          Assuming there's no other way in or out of the bedroom, I'm not sure what else the tenant was meant to do.
          They were locked in their bedroom and, with the latch on, no one could get in without causing some damage.
          Luckily it was a locksmith, because someone else might have tried to kick the door in.

          Unless the tenant caused the bedroon lock to fail I don't see why they are liable for anything.
          This agrees with my thinking but then I was wondering, if to get in the locksmith had to break open the front door to the building and the door to the stairwell (as well as the flat door and bedroom door) then would the LL be responsible for the cost of all of this?

          Comment


            #6
            A barrel on the bedroom door sounds like a full Yale cylinder, not the one or two lever mortice lock you might expect. With that level of security this is being treated like a multiple tenancy HMO, even if it isn't technically an HMO, and there is only one tenancy.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post
              This sounds like a potential HMO. If it is an HMO, it will be an illegal HMO if anything more than a thumb turn was needed to open the bedroom door. Consider yourself lucky you aren't dealing with a roasted tenant and a manslaughter charge!

              Note that all the other doors need to be keyless from the inside.

              Even if there are only two tenants in the flat, I think it would be considered a significant fire safety failing.
              It is not a HMO but interesting info nonetheless that I was not aware of. Does this info regarding the thumb turns hold for all properties not just licenced HMOs? I assume, for reasons of security, that they do not have to be like the bathroom doors that are slotted on the outside so that they can be opened using a coin or similar?

              By sheer coincidence (rather than thought of safety laws) the bedroom door was a thumb turn and this is what is alleged to have broken. As it stands, there is just a hole in the door now.

              Comment


                #8
                Reading the OP the barrel that was drilled was the door to the flat.
                And then he tackled the bedroom door.

                There was no mention of drilling the bedroom door just taking off the handle.

                Spring latches do fail, I've been stuck out the back simply because the latch failed and the unlocked door would not open from the outside no matter how far the handle was turned.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
                  Agree with above mostly -- but why did tenant not call you (or did he?). But springing a bedroom door is easy - so which door was this exactly?
                  He was trapped in the bedroom but the front door (to which he had put the latch on) had to be drilled to give access to the flat. He said he called me once but I didn’t answer.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post
                    A barrel on the bedroom door sounds like a full Yale cylinder, not the one or two lever mortice lock you might expect. With that level of security this is being treated like a multiple tenancy HMO, even if it isn't technically an HMO, and there is only one tenancy.
                    You have mixed up the bedroom door with the front door.

                    it is two tenants on one tenancy in a two bedroom flat.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      A thumb turn is best practice for the bedroom door and flat entrance door, and essential for the stairwell door and block main entrance. It would be insisted upon by most licensing schemes, and by social landlords. I'm not sure what the building regulations are for new locks on bedroom doors.

                      It is generally preferable that bedroom doors not be locked at all.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Thanks, I appreciate the info. All the doors are thumb turn on the inside except the main bedroom which doesn’t have a lock (not sure how the second bedroom ended up with one and I didn’t realise there was one until this incident).

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Wondering if the tenant has a duty to mitigate costs, e.g. by calling one or two other locksmiths to get an estimate. £310 to drill a door, replace a barrel and take off a handle without replacing it is an excessive amount and I now have the trouble to call out and pay for another locksmith to come and fit a new handle/thumb turn lock.

                          One thing that puzzles me is how the locksmith got into the main building entrance door and stairwell door.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Maybe not as secure as you thought?
                            Maybe someone left them open or let him in?

                            Less cost than having to drill extra (communal) locks to get to the bedroom.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Well, while I’m not disagreeing, that’s kind of what I’m questioning. How far is a LL liable and does a T have an obligation to the LL to mitigate such expenses?

                              If there were 20 locked doors in the development before the locksmith could reach the bedroom then would the LL be liable for the cost of the locksmith drilling and repairing all 20 doors?

                              Comment

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