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

by Readers Question

13:03 PM, 9th September 2013
About 8 years ago

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

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

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.



Yvette Newbury

20:08 PM, 10th September 2013
About 8 years ago

Yes I commented before on local councils deciding to split up a property into individual premises as per the lockable rooms creating a massive increase in the council tax bill. Also each room would need its own TV licence rather than only one required on a joint tenancy. I have explained this to my incoming tenants and have been renting to sharers since 1996 with no problems, with no locks on internal doors.

philip allen

4:01 AM, 11th September 2013
About 8 years ago

I am lead to believe that, if you have a lock on your door, you're creating a separate household as far as TV Licensing is concerned and you would, therefore, be required to purchase your own TV licence.
If anyone knows otherwise do please enlighten me.

Tony Atkins

8:11 AM, 11th September 2013
About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "philip allen" at "11/09/2013 - 04:01":

I too disagree with locks on bedroom doors in houseshares: the tenant isn't renting a self-contained room like a bedsit or long-term hotel room, but has access to the whole house. Locks on doors also create a nasty prison-like atmosphere in the house and really affects the communication between tenants: it's all too easy to come home, lock yourself in your room and merely grunt at the other tenants as you pass each other by in the kitchen. I've lived in about 20 houseshares myself over the years, and if I'd had locks on my door, I would have felt *less* secure, not more: locks say to me that they are needed, that the area is a high-crime one, or that the other tenants are to be suspected . . .

Besides the extra cost of council tax and TV licence (which was news to me) the notion that a lock on a bedroom door offers any real security is spurious: once a burglar is inside the house, he will usually have plenty of time to smash down the door or use a crowbar. No doubt the tenant will expect the landlord to pay to repair the damage thus caused by his insistence on having a door lock. If the tenant suspects his fellow tenants are going to steal from him, he should move out or invest in some proper security for valuable items, like a small safe large enough to hold a laptop, MP3 player etc.

Robert M

11:02 AM, 11th September 2013
About 8 years ago

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

We fit the thumb turns as well, all keyed to a common master so that the tenant has one key which covers his room and front door etc. Then we have a single master key which we use and a final key that fits common doors only that can be handed to tradesmen working in common areas. Sorted!

Mark Alexander

11:07 AM, 11th September 2013
About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert M " at "11/09/2013 - 11:02":

Hi Robert

How do you deal with the issues regarding TV licences and Council Tax which have been flagged up in this thread?

Winsome P

13:10 PM, 11th September 2013
About 8 years ago

There is also the paradox for the students and safety, if you slam lock your door you are less interested in other people or others in or around the house because their room is safe.
Take all the locks off and everyone realises they must protect the entire house to protect their own possessions. Thus everyone is a policeman for everyones benefit.

Locks internally I have heard have sometimes had the same key for every room numbered 1 and every house room numbered 2 etc. regardless of the house. Practical but hmmmm.

Yvette Newbury

22:19 PM, 11th September 2013
About 8 years ago

I looked into this when deciding not to install locks. One problem that a tenant flagged up was they wanted to buy contents insurance but couldn't find an insurance company that offered it. I found two that did offer insurance on a joint tenancy with no locks and the tenant was happy with that. In discussing the issue with the insurance company I mentioned that I was uncertain whether we would be able to find insurance on this basis and they said they were happy to offer it as it meant the property overall was more secure. Too many tenants with locks on their own doors are satisfied that they have locked their own personal door and will not then double check the back door/balcony door or properly close the front door of the property itself. Also in a shared house where tenants have their own locks and have insurance in their own rooms, if they leave something in the communal areas such as a kitchen or bathroom they are not necessarily covered. On a joint tenancy basis these items would be covered. As I looked into this in more detail I felt certain that, for us, no locks on doors was the best option and I do feel it ensures tenants think carefully about who they are sharing with, which is so important in a joint tenancy.

Ian Ringrose

23:12 PM, 11th September 2013
About 8 years ago

Also a lot of BTL mortgage that allow sharers on a single AST do not allow locks on bedrooms.

Flo Samuriwo

22:08 PM, 12th September 2013
About 8 years ago

Thank you very much for your advice and knowledge to everyone who contributed. I have learnt a lot. I think I will take Mary's course of action and get in touch with the landlord. Especially now that 2 other tenants have had locks installed.

Rene Zurita Sanchez

17:55 PM, 29th September 2014
About 7 years ago


You commented that "If the rooms are on individual tenancy agreements it is a requirement for door locks to be installed on each bedroom", do you think you could point me in the right direction to find this "law" so I can quote it to my landlord/agency?

Thank you.

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