Can a landlord refuse to put locks on HMO bedroom doors?

Can a landlord refuse to put locks on HMO bedroom doors?

13:03 PM, 9th September 2013, About 10 years ago 28

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My son has moved away from home to take up a new job. We took him there  last week and realized that there no locks on the bedroom doors. He is living in a HMO with 5 other professionals. locks on HMO bedroom doors

We asked to have a lock put on the door to the manager. Her reply was that rooms used to be let to students and that’s why there are no locks. Students lose keys most of the time and she would often be called our at unsociable hours.

We stressed that these are no longer students but professionals. My son went to her office the next day. He was told that she does not want to carry a big bunch of keys around when next she comes to show prospective tenants.

The landlord insurance does not insure tenants contents. He “strongly advises ” tenants to take their own insurance.

My question is, have we got any rights to insist on having a lock put on the door?

How can you insure valuables when you leave the door unlocked?

Are we within our rights to put the locks ourselves?

Your help will be most appreciated.


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Chris Sheldon

13:24 PM, 9th September 2013, About 10 years ago

Hi Flo,

Is each room let on a separate tenancy agreement or are all tenants on one tenancy agreement?


Mary Latham

15:45 PM, 9th September 2013, About 10 years ago

Lazy manager. Ask for the landlords address, if you put this request in writing the agent must provide it within 21 days. Write to the landlord and make him aware that you cannot get insurance if there is no lock on the door - this is because they are not living as a family group as students would have done -and that therefore any losses or damage would mean that you would claim from the landlord.

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Flo Samuriwo

17:50 PM, 9th September 2013, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Chris Sheldon" at "09/09/2013 - 13:24":

Hi chris

All tenants are on one tenancy agreement and each one has a copy to sign.

Chris Sheldon

20:53 PM, 9th September 2013, About 10 years ago

Hi Flo,

If all names are listed on the agreement (i.e your son + 4 other tenants )then that will be one tenancy agreement.

If they are all on one agreement there is no legal obligation for a landlord to provide door locks as each tenant is joint and severally liable and therefore are entitled to enjoyment of the entire property although i do agree with Mary Latham that the manager is just being lazy and for security purposes i personally would want bedroom door locks as insurance companies aren’t renowned for parting with money at the best of times and it will provide peace of mind,

In this circumstance i assume that each tenant already knows one another, however if they don't then all the more reason to request them.

If the rooms are on individual tenancy agreements it is a requirement for door locks to be installed on each bedroom and for the room whether it be by number or location to be specified on the tenancy agreement.

I would advise against installing a lock yourself, but if you do ensure that it is openable by hand from the inside such as thumb turn or similar, and ensure that the door in question does not lead to a fire exit or escape route.

If the manager is refusing to give you keys I think Marys course of action will yield the fastest results.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

21:24 PM, 9th September 2013, About 10 years ago

A decent locksmith may be able to source door handles with locks which can be fitted without damaging the door and the frame. Maybe you could have these fitted and replace them before you leave? From what you have said the property manager won't even notice and will probably be too lazy to do anything about it even if she does. Worst case scenario just put the others back. The worst that can happen is that the door or the frame gets damaged so just bear in mind it will come out of your sons deposit. If the lock is that important you can take a commercial view. Personally, if I was your son I would fit a lock and take my chances with the landlord as opposed to taking a chance with my personal privacy and security. As a landlord I would take an equally commercial view. Within reason I allow my tenants do do what they want so long as it makes sense and they agree to make good when they leave.

Yvette Newbury

1:52 AM, 10th September 2013, About 10 years ago

We rent some of our properties to sharers, though all on one tenancy agreement. We do not allow locks on the doors. So many tenants have rented our properties as, in their opinion it has seemed more like home, than a hotel with locks on each door. We also find we then rent the property to a more cohesive group and they tend to stay longer - we do minimum 1 year lets. I completely understand why tenants would like locks on their doors, but we do not and have never allowed it and not had a problem. We have recommended 2 insurers to our tenants who DO insure tenants on a joint tenancy with no locks on the doors. I'll find out who it was again and post on here.

If we ever did get a tenant who was very unhappy and wanted a lock, we would allow it, but would request it be removed and the door made good at the time the tenant leaves.

Robert M

18:08 PM, 10th September 2013, About 10 years ago

I'm tempted to point out that there was presumably no lock when the property was viewed and the tenancy was agreed.

Yvette Newbury

18:47 PM, 10th September 2013, About 10 years ago

Good point Robert M. We do also try to point this out to tenants when they are viewing.

Thinking further on this, presumably a property is rented "as seen" unless there are any promises made by the landlord at that time eg. "the property will be cleaned prior to your tenancy commencing" or " we will fix that broken xyz prior to your tenancy commencing" etc.

Steve Hards

19:17 PM, 10th September 2013, About 10 years ago

There are very good reasons for locks on bedroom doors for sharers. Even the friendliest at the start of a tenancy can fall out and, until they make up again, may feel safer if they can retreat to somewhere lockable. They can lock them too when they have a party or go away for a few days.

We have locks with thumb-turns fitted on the inside so there is no danger of being locked in and have never had a tenant mislay their key - it is too important to them.

When I let them know when I'm coming to the house with someone such as a tradesperson, I also suggest that they lock their doors if they are going to be out at the time. That way there is no argy-bargy about things 'going missing'.

19:58 PM, 10th September 2013, About 10 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Steve Hards" at "10/09/2013 - 19:17":

Locks on bedroom doors for single tenancy agreement sharers is a no-no for 2 reasons:

1) Many councils will transfer the council tax liability onto the landlord; and
2) Each tenant has as much right to enter Flos' sons room as any of the other joint tenants - they all have equal rights to all of it. Locking certain individuals out is (technically) breaching their tenancy rights.

TBH, if this is a joint tenancy then FS has already decided he trusts these guys enough to agree to joint and several liability - ie thousands of pounds worth of risk - if there is enough trust for that then he should be ok without locks.

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