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 4 days ago 33

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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



by Clint

10:11 AM, 14th October 2021, About 3 days ago

Perhaps we landlords all have common sense which most tenants probably don’t so, maybe we should be more understanding.

I have a tenant who in May of this year left her key in the flat. She sent me a text asking if I had a spare key. I informed her that I did but could not give a time that I could come as I was at a meeting but would probably be in around a couple of hours. She said she would speak to her mum and get back to me. A few minutes later she said her mum agreed to pay for a locksmith to come out. I asked her how much the locksmith was going to charge, and she said she did not know.

I later found out that the locksmith had cost her £215 which I thought was daylight robbery and outrageous as, the locksmith managed to open the door without changing or damaging the lock (does not say much for lock company). This did however to an extent annoy me as, the tenant is on benefits and at the time owed me £1800 and was at her mum’s waiting to go home where there was no real emergency to get into her flat.

So it all seems that perhaps Jaje and such tenants have no concept of money but at least, my tenant did not ask me to pay anything towards the costs.

by Paul Shears

10:14 AM, 14th October 2021, About 3 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Clint at 14/10/2021 - 10:11
Tragically for many, water finds it's own level.

by Ian Narbeth

10:22 AM, 14th October 2021, About 3 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Clint at 14/10/2021 - 10:11At the risk of opining without knowing all the facts, your tenant appears to have the character defect that is common in many poor people of not being able to put something off because THEY WANT IT NOW. Hence people getting into debt taking out credit to buy consumer goods they don't really need and in your tenant's case not being willing to wait a few hours for the gratification of getting back into her own home.
@Paul Shears has a point!

by Mike

11:50 AM, 14th October 2021, About 3 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 14/10/2021 - 08:34
I would neither cry nor laugh, I would go potty.

by paul kaye

11:59 AM, 14th October 2021, About 3 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 14/10/2021 - 08:34
Good point
I never thought of that one and so true!

by DSR

12:31 PM, 15th October 2021, About 2 days ago

I can only reiterate what others have said.
Point 1 - you had a lock that was working and secured the flat. A second lock further down the door that may or may not have been working is irrelevant as you did NOT have keys for it. It clearly wasn't in use or for your use.
You should have contacted the Agent to ask if you could have a key for this, and WAITED for a reasonable time for response.
ANY action you took after this point was off your own back (not an emergency even if you deemed it to be) and therefore any costs are yours and yours alone. Put it down to experience (yes it seems you have been completely overcharged too in the process) and next time give reasonable time for the LL /Agent to respond. If a tenant contacts me with a similar request on a Friday after hours, I wont respond until Monday.
I think your are really lucky that the LL has offered to pay anything towards this. I wouldn't!

by Coops

8:27 AM, 16th October 2021, About A day ago

Hi Jaje
Unfortunately there are locksmiths out there that prey on tenants that are vulnerable/naïve, as they do not understand the true cost of what it does cost to supply parts and replace a lock, even if out of hours. The more distressed, the more they charge. Thankfully this type of locksmith is in the minority.
I suspect if you google the locksmith involved, you will find endless negative reviews. I had a tenant panic and replace a lock and locking mechanism because they temporarily lost their keys and were late for work, they did not even try to call the letting agency for advice. The locksmith convinced the tenant that all they had to do was present the invoice to the landlord and I would pay it. They then called the tenant every two hours chasing payment.
I feel that your out of hours contact let you down in this case, as they were unavailable. I would approach your letting agent/landlord with the bill that you have been presented, ask them to put together an estimate for what their out of hours would normally charge for the lock replacement, stating whether they feel the second lock needed replacing. Hopefully they will contact the locksmith involved on your behalf and be able to negotiate a lower charge. Look at the website for the company involved and use any promises against them, particularly where they fail their customer charter etc.
In my case they wavered the locking mechanism fee, and reduced the parts cost for the unbranded lock that they fitted, reducing the fee by nearly two thirds. Which the tenant then paid.

by Di Driscoll

11:38 AM, 16th October 2021, About 23 hours ago

I'm about to tell my husband how much he has saved us over the years by being able to DIY replacing locks. And even more by being directly contactable rather than using an agent!

by Paul Shears

11:41 AM, 16th October 2021, About 23 hours ago

Reply to the comment left by Di Driscoll at 16/10/2021 - 11:38
Careful what you say on a public forum. Some government department might want to tax your husbands competence and good judgement! 🙂

by Mike

13:03 PM, 16th October 2021, About 21 hours ago

It is strange that when this new tenant moves in, upon arriving the tenant finds the front door insecure, i.e. door already open and cannot be secured so this would arouse suspicion straight away, and as to whether you should go in or not, and if not being able to contact agent or landlord, should the tenant not suspect an attempt by a intruder and the lock has been damaged so it can;t be secured and should he have called the police? what if it had been burgled? any break in whilst the property was empty, or what if the previous tenant may have come back to retrieve something, or what if previous tenant may have a spare key not returned and deliberately opened the front door and left it insecure, sure enough agent would not have left a property insecure or left a lock that cannot be secured, so this case smells a rat, so many questions, one of the question that comes to my mind is scam involving crash for cash scams, where drivers deliberately stage crash to claim from car insurance, so no stone should be left unturned, this door left unsecured should be investigated, how can a landlord or his agent offer a property for renting and not meet the new tenants and go through with introduction, and show where things are such as stop cock, gas stop valve, electric meter and consumer unit, all important safety things, and to have door locks changed for an insane money, I hope the landlord do not make a claim on his insurance as he would only be paying for it himself as increased premiums from now on if he makes a claim for his tenant. Sadly I don't buy a story where a property you are moving in has insecurable front door, if this was the case then the property would not be fit for the purpose and would not be rentable.

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