Broken front door lock

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    Broken front door lock

    Good morning all!

    I wonder if you could advise me on the below.

    Last night, my partner's key snapped in our front door. Luckily I was already in the property so we had access. We emailed our landlord who informed us that it isn't his responsibility to call an emergency locksmith nor to pay for the repair and also requested we arrange for 4 keys to be cut at our expense.

    So we arranged a locksmith. He arrived and informed us that the reason the key had snapped was because the lock was not fitted correctly. The shank was too long and so over time it had bent inside, He also said it was a cheap lock and he really wasn't surprised that our key had broken.

    I can guarantee that my boyfriend isn't secretly superman and therefore didn't apply much force to the key - he was holding a bag of shopping which also restricted the brute strength I never knew he had....

    My question is - are we really liable for having to pay for a new lock when we only moved in two months ago and it was the ill fitted lock that caused the key to break?

    Thank you!

    #2
    Probably not.
    But, being pragmatic - tradesman repairing something often comment on the poor workmanship or installation of the item being repaired.
    I tend to take it with a pinch of salt.

    However, the landlord isn't actually entitled to a key (although it might be sensible to give them one).
    They should probably have paid for the locks and recharged you.
    They can't insist on having extra copies of keys made.

    On the other hand, annoying your landlord over something so trivial is probably not that helpful.
    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
      Hi - thanks so much for responding.

      What I am asking is why we have had to fork out £110 on a new lock when the old one was dodgy. Surely it isn't our fault?

      Gosh this renting thing is so depressing.

      Comment


        #4
        Renting has its upside - wait until something expensive breaks and you don't have to pay to fix or replace it.
        You'd have had to do the same if you owned the property anyway, so it's not as unfair as it seems.

        It happens, locks break, tradesmen blame "cheap" locks - I'd imagine they're the one's that came with the property when it was built or the last time the door was replaced.
        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


          #5
          jpkeates,

          Totally disagree worn/faulty door lock and replacement key set should have been replaced at the landlord's expense. A similar thing happened to my tenant several years back and I footed the bill.

          Comment


            #6
            I too would accept the repair as an expense due to the landlord. Maybe check your tenancy agreement and see what is says about the landlord duties

            Comment


              #7
              I'd have replaced it too, but I don't see why a landlord has an obligation to.
              A key snapping off in a lock isn't normal, and it would be hard to prove it was a problem with a previously working lock.

              Personally, I don't want the tenant making changes, and I want to be sure I have copies of keys.
              But that's a preference - I don't think the tenant has a right to have it replaced.
              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


                #8
                Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                A key snapping off in a lock isn't normal, and it would be hard to prove it was a problem with a previously working lock.
                I've seen several 'yale-type' keys snap off in locks over the last 20 years. These have all been 'copied' (non-original) keys cut from a softer metal. Unless the tenant forced or damaged the lock then it is without question the landlord's responsibility. The fact that they are unable to (or can't be bothered) to attend at lock out time is irrelevant.

                Comment


                  #9
                  If the landlord has provided the original lock and keys, which then fail through fair wear and tear....surely it is landlord's responsibility to cover the cost for replacement.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thank you all so much for your advice.

                    I really want to be a good tenant and I hate the idea that I am bugging my landlord or being high maintenance. I've been brought up to respect property and look after it as if it were my own.

                    I have found a gov website that states the Landlord is responsible for any external locks on doors and windows and I also rang our letting agent and they have said that the Landlord should reimburse us.

                    We only moved into the property two months ago and I've had to contact my landlord pretty much each week because all the lights in hall didn't work, the plug sockets in the kitchen weren't working, the boiler broke and the soonest an engineer could attend it was 6 days later and now the key snapping!

                    I just really don't want to be a nuisance but I also don't want to be a doormat!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      *Update*

                      Landlord has said they are not going to reimburse us. They are basically saying that it's our fault. We should've noticed it getting stiff. There was literally no warning. We just put our key in the lock and turned and it snapped. I can't wait until we don't have to rent anymore. I'd rather pay for my own things then!!

                      "It is correct that the landlord is responsible for locks of exterior doors. However, the lock is not broken. Also, this is not a situation of fair wear and tear – the key has snapped in the lock, which led to a necessary replacement. You have caused damage to the lock, and I would expect you to fix the damage you have caused.



                      I also agree with your evaluation – house keys don’t just break off in the lock without giving some warning like the lock getting stiff. You should have noticed something before if there was an issue with the lock and given the diligence you showcased so far in notifying us of issues in and around the flat I should think you would have brought things to our attention.



                      Therefore I am not in agreement with you deducting this amount from the next rental payment. Doing so would violate the rental agreement."

                      Comment


                        #12
                        While I think a reasonable landlord would just pay for the replacement and I think that yours, in this case, is being unnecessarily douchey, you may be onto a loser here particularly given the amount of money - which although significant is not, presumably, ruinous.

                        Perhaps better to swallow the loss.

                        <Obligatory question about deposit protection goes here?>

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Yeah. Think we will just move out at the break clause (next aug) - so disappointing.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            *cough*Was your deposit protected properly and all of that?*cough*

                            How long was the tenancy, 12 months?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Yep - it's with a DPS scheme.

                              We offered a 2 year tenancy with a break clause after 12 months. That was before we moved in and realised how shoddy everything is. We don't even have a light in the lounge. The switch is on the wall but the ceiling is blank (they obviously removed the light and plastered it back up), door handles don't fit, all things that just scream of they couldn't be bothered to spend any cash so just dis a gaffa tape job.

                              I'm just so upset as I moved house because my last landlord was as bad and I thought going through a letting agency would be better but it turns out even though we pay our rent to the letting agent, the flat is managed by the landlord.

                              Gah!!!

                              Comment

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