Bedroom door locks

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  • Bedroom door locks

    Hi, have just had new student tenants move into a 6 bed house.

    All 6 bedrooms have old victorian 1-lever locks installed, but only 2 bedrooms have keys. As far as I know all 6 locks are in working order. The tenants asked me if I could install new locks for the 4 bedrooms without keys. I said I could put them in touch with a locksmith who would install new british standard 5 lever locks at £75 each.

    Have just had a phone call from one of them saying that under tenant law/rights, the landlord must supply keys to each working lock in the property and if there are deficient keys, the landlord must foot the bill for installation of all locks on student bedrooms. The tenant said he has this advice from a registered and certified locksmith and will get the university housing union involved if we don't fit new locks. They say that none of their belongings are covered by insurance companies without locks on their doors.

    There is no mention in our contract of which party is responsible. What does common law say?

    Many thanks,
    Henry.

  • #2
    Joint AST for the whole house, or separate ASTs for each room?

    It sounds as though you may have an HMO - which requires you to have locks on all doors which are NOT key operated (to enable easy egress in the event of fire during the night). Are you au fait with HMO legislation?

    It is not your problem if they have rented somewhere they are unable to insure. (Suggest they get a joint insurance policy for the whole house, be much cheaper than individual policies.)

    The other thing worth doing is to telephone the "university housing union" to find out what they are really saying.

    Comment


    • #3
      To complicate the issue ... asTelometer says, locks on bedroom doors on HMOs must be of a certain sort (ie openable without a key from inside the room), however, do these 6 students realise that if they insist on a lock on each of their doors, they are then required to buy a TV licence EACH - although it is a joint tenancy, the presence of locks renders it less like one household, so the licensing authority won't accept one licence for the whole house? In other words, any tenant who has any appliance in their rooms which can receive live TV signals, must buy their own licence. This news is usually sufficient to make them pipe down.
      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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      • #4
        Joint AST.

        Not particularly familiar with HMO legislation as I am relatively new to the landlord business. As far as I understood, HMO 'households' are defined by types of groups, so a family of four would be classified as one household, a couple living with a friend would be 3 households, and in my case there are 6 households?

        So under HMO legislation, the 4 bedroom doors with non-working locks would be classified as being 'not key operated' seeing as effectively there are no locks due to the lack of keys? And if this is the case then I would need to pay for the fitting of locks that can be used by key from the outside, but also be openable without a key from the inside?

        As for the TV licence - there is only one communal TV, (they discovered about separate licences in their last property the harsh way and have since wised up) so the joint tenancy/single licence stands.

        Comment


        • #5
          Oddly enough I was asked for a new 09/10 student letting if I would have locks fitted (4 beds only, 2 floors, Surrey). Apparently "to satisfy the insurers" (plausible...). Yes, they are all openable from inside the rooms without a key... Being a kind soul I acquiesced..

          Ho hum, more money out!

          Cheers!

          Lodger
          I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

          Comment


          • #6
            In the old days, you would have had a straightfoward house share. They took the house together, and there you were.

            Nowadays you have an HMO. Whether you need to license it, and what you need to do with regards to upgrading it, only your own local authority can tell you.

            As for your "registered and certified locksmith" well I guess there is no such thing (though he may well be a member of a trade body) and he will be looking to create work for himself.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by HenryTaylor View Post
              Joint AST.

              Not particularly familiar with HMO legislation as I am relatively new to the landlord business. As far as I understood, HMO 'households' are defined by types of groups, so a family of four would be classified as one household, a couple living with a friend would be 3 households, and in my case there are 6 households?
              Correct.



              Originally posted by HenryTaylor View Post
              So under HMO legislation, the 4 bedroom doors with non-working locks would be classified as being 'not key operated' seeing as effectively there are no locks due to the lack of keys? And if this is the case then I would need to pay for the fitting of locks that can be used by key from the outside, but also be openable without a key from the inside?
              Correct, assuming they are right about your having to provide locks in the first place. They are easy enough to fit yourself, actually. You don't have to get a locksmith in.



              Originally posted by HenryTaylor View Post
              As for the TV licence - there is only one communal TV, (they discovered about separate licences in their last property the harsh way and have since wised up) so the joint tenancy/single licence stands.
              That's fine as long as none of them also has a TV in their bedrooms.
              'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

              Comment


              • #8
                there is no offical certification for uk locksmiths

                report back what your smug tenant comes back with please

                I very much doubt all over them wont have a TV in their room and remember any equipment that can receive TV signals requireds a license wether its used or not... so non of them have laptops with DVB cards either? If they cause trouble for you cause some for them. TV licensing will hound them to death

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Neil75 View Post
                  If they cause trouble for you cause some for them. TV licensing will hound them to death
                  Probably not the best way to get the tenancy off to a professional start. In the end, people in shared houses prefer locks on their bedroom doors and they provide better security. They are not hideously expensive. It is probably not worth going to the gallows over.
                  'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Working locks but no keys ?

                    If simple locks then pre cut keys (usually lettered) can be purchased over the counter, this means that T can then operate lock, by key from the inside of the room ......that is a big NO NO.

                    Locks should be replaced with thumb turn operated, which can be purchased for <£10 each and are a diy fit. If you insist upon leaving original locks in situ then locks should disabled or keyholes plated (both sides).

                    NOTE: Any doors on fire escape route (ie front and back doors) should also be thumb turn and not key operated from the inside.

                    This is not a huge expense to you and IMO is very much your responsibility, morally, if not legally.

                    Hows this for your local paper headline:

                    "Student burns to death after local LL refuses to fit proper doorlocks on rented property"
                    A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
                    W.Churchill

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      is there legistration in place stating the lock rule? obv there will be for HMO's but what about normal lets?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Neil75 View Post
                        is there legistration in place stating the lock rule? obv there will be for HMO's but what about normal lets?
                        Assuming you mean 'legislation' and not 'registration', then the rules may well be different for non-HMOs. You would have to check with your local council as some councils have additional legislation regarding H & S which all LLs must comply with.

                        However, a fire officer told me that in his view it is better to have no locks at all than locks which are not instantly openable from inside without a key. If people are trapped in smoke filled rooms in the dark, panicking, the last thing they should be doing is trying to find a key and then find the keyhole. Think about it.
                        'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi,

                          I am a student...and reading this thread has made me realise how much you landlords are out to get us. We're not all skanky students who want to scrounge off of our landlords. At the moment I am trying to get my landlord to put locks on our bedroom doors, for security reasons. I'm not trying to be difficult; the other day a student property over the road to my house was broken into. This makes me feel very unsafe, and I would feel a lot better if there was a lock on my bedroom door. It's also about privacy; I don't want people bursting into my room all the time, and as I have a sleep disorder that causes me to have hallucinations, I want to feel safe when I'm sleeping.

                          It makes me sad and angry that landlords can't be bothered with their tenants; if you don't like students, don't be a student landlord!!! As for the thing with the tv licensing, don't bloody patronise us. We won't "pipe down" if you bring that on us - we have a communal tv in our living room anyway so it's irrelevant.

                          I really think you should all stop being so nasty about students; as a landlord you should be wanting to make your tenants stay as comfortable and amicable as possible, you don't want to build a wall in between, as the tenants will only reverse it and then make it difficult for you.

                          Just please understand that some - in fact most, - students are decent and simply want a nice, secure property to live in. You should respect that.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by psychology1989 View Post
                            Hi,

                            I am a student...and reading this thread has made me realise how much you landlords are out to get us. We're not all skanky students who want to scrounge off of our landlords.
                            Coo! Did someone just stand on your toe or something? This whole thread is about the advisability of fitting safety locks, not about getting students.
                            Such a bad tempered first post makes me wonder about your chosen name, is that what you are studying or the year you were first committed?
                            I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If students want locks on their bedroom doors then they should rent properties that have them.

                              It's not that difficult to engage brain and check that the essential items are present in a property before signing up to a 12 month tenancy agreement, is it?

                              "I rented a room with a single bed that's not big enough for a double bed. My landlord refuses to extend the house in order to fit in a double bed so I can share it with my girlfriend. It's a shame that landlords can't be bothered with their tenants, you should be wanting to make their stay as comfortable as possible. So if they ask for an 80" plasma TV, give it to them."

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