Letting agent can not find spare key - advice please

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    Letting agent can not find spare key - advice please

    Hi

    I have lived in my rented property for 9 months. 2 days ago I got locked out with 2 small boys. Other half was working away. I called the letting agent from the doorstep. I walked out the house with no jacket and no keys! The letting agent said they would arrange the key to be sent over. 25 min laterand no key. Called them back and they said they did not know where it is or who has it. Anyway after waiting 2 hrs with a 2 and 3 year old their handyman drilled the lock and got us in. I have paid for a new lock and the service of the handyman. I understand I was chancing them to pay.

    What I want to know is what process of audit on keys are letting agents meant to do? I am in the house alone a lot at night and feel I can not trust the agent to have a key.

    Any advice grateful.

    #2
    There is no "process of audit".
    Some agents/landlords have keys, some don't.

    If you don't trust the agent to have keys, then tell them that in 7 days you are changing the locks, and will replace their locks when you leave. They will either respond to you or not.
    Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

    Comment


      #3
      If the agent is a regulated member of the RICS then it could be a breach of the RICS code of practice for member firms.
      [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]

      Comment


        #4
        ARLA's code of conduct also states:
        VII. A Member Firm must make sure that all keys held on behalf of clients are suitably coded and kept secure. Records of the addresses of such keys must be kept separate from the actual keys and kept safe.

        VIII. A Member Firm must maintain a record or log of when and to whom keys are issued and when they are returned. A Member Firm must take reasonable steps to ensure that keys are only given to suitably authorised people who have provided satisfactory identification.
        So if this particular agent is a member, their attention should be brought to section H.8 above...

        Comment


          #5
          VII. A Member Firm must make sure that all keys held on behalf of clients are suitably coded and kept secure.
          I assume that this is assuming the landlord gives the agents
          a spare set of keys.
          If no spare keys, then there are no spare keys.

          And when the agent closes at 5pm, and not open Sundays,
          then no keys available.

          Agents are not your mothers.
          People get locked out of a house by their own fault, so don't
          try and blame someone else because you walk out without
          your keys.

          A new lock has been fitted, so get spare keys cut, leave
          them next door, under a plant pot, in a plastic bag on a
          string hanging down a drain. Have a necklace made with a
          spare to hang round your neck

          The first thing i did was get an extra set of keys cut.
          Because of the Real chub locks, and the number of other
          keys, it cost me £ 27 for a spare set.

          Hide your spare key in a magnetic box or as mentioned above

          Comment


            #6
            For sure, ram.
            OP asked if agent had to have an audit system in place re. keys because she is worried as agent told her that they had essentially no idea where their key was:
            Called them back and they said they did not know where it is or who has it
            Which very clearly indicates compliance issues with ARLA's code of conduct (if they are member), which states that they should have such an audit system and keep keys secure:
            A Member Firm must maintain a record or log of when and to whom keys are issued and when they are returned

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by ram View Post
              I assume that this is assuming the landlord gives the agents
              a spare set of keys.
              If no spare keys, then there are no spare keys.

              And when the agent closes at 5pm, and not open Sundays,
              then no keys available.

              Agents are not your mothers.
              People get locked out of a house by their own fault, so don't
              try and blame someone else because you walk out without
              your keys.

              A new lock has been fitted, so get spare keys cut, leave
              them next door, under a plant pot, in a plastic bag on a
              string hanging down a drain. Have a necklace made with a
              spare to hang round your neck

              The first thing i did was get an extra set of keys cut.
              Because of the Real chub locks, and the number of other
              keys, it cost me £ 27 for a spare set.

              Hide your spare key in a magnetic box or as mentioned above
              Actually I am a mother and not treated the agent as my mother. I called them as my husband was out of the country and I am concerned that they have a key to my house that they can not account for, leaving my children and I at risk!

              Comment


                #8
                Thank you everyone I will look into it further.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by 20092010 View Post
                  I am concerned that they have a key to my house
                  that they can not account for, leaving my children and I at risk!
                  My post was for, as well as, others who may be locked out,
                  and suggesting spare keys be kept were they can be found.

                  However, you have changed the lock, and with that comes
                  a new key, so the agent no longer has a spare key ?
                  If so, you can copy them, then give one to the agent.

                  If your lock was a normal lock where a key can be cut at
                  anytime by anyone, and the previous tenants, then any
                  previous tenant or criminal friend of previous tenants can also
                  have a key to enter your property at will.

                  Always best to have locks changed, or verify that they have
                  been chaged since the last tenant.
                  Unfortunately you were locked out, but fortunately you
                  should now have a new key that no one else has.

                  R.a.M.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    The agent has lost their key which has resulted in the tenant having to have locks changed after getting locked out. If the tenant worked on the assumption that they knew the agent did not have a key they may have given one to a family member or neighbour for situations like this as well as emergencies when away etc.

                    The Agent may have been subsequently required to change the locks because of their negligence for losing the key in any event, so why should the cost of the lock be borne by the tenant only? Both parties actions are the reason the locks required changing, if either party had not made mistakes then the locks would not have required changing. So there's equal blame surely?
                    [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by MrJohnnyB View Post
                      {Mod - comment removed}
                      You wrote above, which went into my email, ( a copy is available )


                      from R.a.M. - My post was for, as well as, others who may be locked out,
                      and suggesting spare keys be kept were they can be found.
                      Then I list the items which you think are wrong

                      MrJohnnyB
                      Wrong - tenant should have a spare set of keys.
                      Wrong - A tenant must never rely on an agent for spare keys.
                      Wrong - A Tenant who locks themselves out of the house / flat,
                      shouldblame themselves.
                      Wrong - A new lock has been fitted, so get spare keys cut.
                      Wrong - You changed the lock, and with that comes a new key
                      Wrong - , so the agent no longer has a spare key ?
                      Wrong - Previous tenants can have a key to enter your property at will.
                      Wrong - best to have locks changed in any event (due to above).

                      Unless you itemise the items, I cannot respond, except as above.

                      And No where did i say or intimate the tenant must pay for the
                      lock !which is what you seem to imply. I said no such thing.

                      R.a.M.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by ram View Post
                        You wrote above, which went into my email, ( a copy is available )

                        .

                        R.a.M.
                        It was deleted by moderators...

                        my contention was in relation to you going off on a tangent and making completely irrelevant comments and somehow skewing the post back on the tenant. The tenant was simply asking if the agent should be accountable for their own negligence in losing a key (which by the summary from the first post it appears they had a key). Which plainly the agent should be accountable for.

                        If an agent has a key, then they should ensure they keep hold of said key - so you're wrong that a tenant should "never" rely on an agent holding a key. If an agent makes an express statement that they hold a key for emergencies then I think that the tenant should rely on that.

                        I agree that a tenant is partially to blame, however, the agent should also share some blame for losing their copy of the key, resulting in the lock being changed.

                        I am not sure that it is up to a tenant to change the locks on a property at the inception of an agreement.

                        For what its worth, I apologise if my comments have caused you any offence.
                        [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by MrJohnnyB View Post

                          I agree that a tenant is partially to blame, however, the agent should also share some blame for losing their copy of the key, resulting in the lock being changed.
                          No, the agent not having the key that they may or may not have ever had is not the reason the lock was changed.
                          The lock was changed because the tenant didn't have their key.

                          If the tenancy agreement states that the agency will provide access with the key they hold in the event that a tenant locks themself out, then the agent should shoulder some/all of the blame.
                          A tenant should never rely on someone holding a key for them in my opinion.
                          Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by thesaint View Post
                            No, the agent not having the key that they may or may not have ever had is not the reason the lock was changed.
                            The lock was changed because the tenant didn't have their key.

                            If the tenancy agreement states that the agency will provide access with the key they hold in the event that a tenant locks themself out, then the agent should shoulder some/all of the blame.
                            A tenant should never rely on someone holding a key for them in my opinion.
                            My comments were based on the fact that the agent gave the impression they had a key as per post one. The tenant must have assumed they had a key otherwise why would a call have been made?

                            So you contest that if the agent did have their key, then the lock would still have had to be changed? On what basis?

                            Under a separate scenario, if it became apparent that the agent had lost the key but the tenant had not, would it not be the case that, for safety reasons, the lock should be changed?

                            I think this is all somewhat irrelevant as in this case the tenant has coughed up the cost. But it does come back to the whole what actual loss has been incurred, if the locks required changing because of the actions of the agent anyway, then it is unfair for the tenant to burden the entire cost.
                            [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]

                            Comment


                              #15
                              The missing key only came to light because T locked herself out.
                              Not all LAs offer to provide access for T in these circumstances, even if they hold a spare key.
                              Even if LA arranged locksmith to gain entry, then T would be liable for call-out charge and new lock.
                              Was the LA key actually 'missing' or just that person T spoke to didn't know where key was?
                              If T wants 'reassurance & security' then it is easy to change barrel of most d/g locks PROVIDED the old barrel is re-instated at end of T.

                              Comment

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