Tenant changed lock – is the landlord obliged to pay?

Tenant changed lock – is the landlord obliged to pay?

8:46 AM, 13th October 2021, About 2 years ago 35

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Hi, We moved into a property on a Friday afternoon, when we came in we noticed that the main lock on the door was not secured (the bottom lock we didn’t get keys for). We tried calling the emergency out of hours number for the management (as it was Fri afternoon) but no answer, so we called down an emergency locksmith who changed the lock and advised that the bottom lock is not fire safe and also needs changing, and they changed both.

I approached the landlord, and he said that although I shouldn’t have changed the locks as he would have sent the worker (but I deemed it as an emergency) he is willing to compensate but only reasonable charges.

So the company that I used charged a total of £775.25 to change 2 locks, the top was a number lock they changed to reg yale/latch and the bottom one they changed to thumbturn deadlock.

However, on the invoice, they write that the material was each lock £250 and the rest for the callout and labour.

So the landlords claims the following,
1) he could have sent his own guy
2) if the top lock wasn’t secured, it doesn’t mean we were allowed to change both locks
3) a landlord is only responsible on such scenarios if it’s a sensible fee, but to charge for a lock £250 when online it costs only £60 he should not be responsible.

Can anyone advise what the LAW is here?

Thank you very much


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Graham Bowcock

9:42 AM, 13th October 2021, About 2 years ago

There isn't a single "law" here that's going to give you the answer.

As a landlord I would have paid for the replacement of the damaged lock to enable you to get access - but £775? I'm afraid this is too steep by far.

If the second lock was working you had no need to change it and could have discussed it with the landlord at a later date.

It sounds like you may have acted in haste and will now repent in leisure. At best the landord may contribute to the cost, but don't expect to get it all paid.

paul kaye

9:43 AM, 13th October 2021, About 2 years ago

As a Landlord
I feel the agents let the landlord and you down.
As you got no keys,clearly ,the agent is at fault.
However you needed to keep costs to a minimum and looks like you were ripped off.
As a Landlord I would expect the agent to sort this,if not I would sack them and sue for damages.You as a tenant
can sue the Landlord and the landlord sue the agent.


9:44 AM, 13th October 2021, About 2 years ago

Mi am a landlord and i would not pay this outrageous fee.

This is a total scam and as you instructed the locksmith i’m afraid it was your responsibility to make sure the cost was reasonable.
And you also had non emergency work done at the same time which you should not have agreed to.

If you were my tenant id offer to pay around £150 max for a call out. I would consider that excessive but as a goodwill gesture I would reimburse upto that amount.

Also if the lock wss working it certainly wasnt an emergency.

It sounds lime this could have waited till you management to contact your landlord.

I’m sorry you are so out of pocket but you also have a duty of care to ensure repairs charges are not as excessive as this.

Prakash Tanna

9:51 AM, 13th October 2021, About 2 years ago

Did the landlord or managing agent not show you the property before you moved in and notice an issue with the lock beforehand? Nearly £800 sounds like an excessive amount and we all know how the majority of 'emergency call out' tradesman end up ripping off innocent people. Personally, I think those costs are unreasonable and there was no need to replace both locks. If the intention was to make the door secure, the top lock would have sufficed. You would have to show that you made reasonable efforts to contact the landlord and gave sufficient time for them to respond. Not a great start to a new tenancy !!


9:55 AM, 13th October 2021, About 2 years ago

I would agree with the landlord. £250 for a lock that can be purchased for £60 is utter theft and totally unreasonable. I am assuming the locks are like for like. I agree that the landlord should only compensate you for reasonable costs.

I also think that you should have asked more than one emergency locksmith for estimates for the work before just engaging one. You may have done so, however it does not appear that you did.

The above is just my opinion and I am not a solicitor..


9:55 AM, 13th October 2021, About 2 years ago

It seems clear that the locksmith has ripped you off. I suggest this was not an emergency as the property was secure. Always contact the agent or landlord depending on how the property is managed before carrying out any non emergency work. I would take this as a learning for future and try to keep relations amicable.

The Property Man

10:22 AM, 13th October 2021, About 2 years ago

775.25 !!!!! That’s a total rip off, the most we would be charged even out of hours would be £150 for both locks.

That is terrible, am afraid I would only contribute to this £150 as you should of told him no chance when he quoted this price to you.

You also should not of let him fix the other lock as this was not an emergency.

Absolute robbery!!


10:28 AM, 13th October 2021, About 2 years ago

Even though there probably wasn't an estimate on the spot before carrying out the repair/improvement due to it being a call out, Citizens Advice would say pursue this yourself by, amongst other approaches, get an expert opinion.That could be entering a locksmith shop and getting their cost for the same emergency work in writing.
The locksmith has charged a totally unreasonable and scandalous amount, and you should report this to their trade organisation if they're a member. I would also plaster it all over social media. £ 500 for two locks?? £275 for labour and call out!!!
Perhaps they're solid silver or 9 carat gold.
If a landlord were charged that when self managing, it might represent 10 or even 15% of annual income in large parts of the UK!!!! It's criminal when you consider the trade discount they'll have had compared to retail in all likelihood. They may have even re-used an old deadlock where you can't see what they've done.
It also seems to have been a late afternoon call out rather than at say midnight.
As the tenant, I would take the company/sole trader/partnership or whatever entity to the cleaners, despite the unfortunate naivety you have shown.


10:29 AM, 13th October 2021, About 2 years ago

Why did you not contact the landlord. In my experience the management co.would tell you to do this and would take no action until you had.
Also what is a fireproof lock?
It seems to me you did act in haste and assumed the landlord would pay. Maybe you should agree to split the bill so that you start the tenancy on a good footing. Even half this amount sounds like a lot.

Freda Blogs

10:37 AM, 13th October 2021, About 2 years ago

How about reversing the roles: imagine yourself as the landlord seeking reimbursement from you/your deposit for changing the locks because you had lost your keys (ignore Tenant Fees Act for purposes of this discussion).

Would you be willing to accept £775 as a reasonable charge, even though it would have been more of an emergency than the situation you describe?

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